Monitoring of dairy cows for metabolic imbalances during high lactation by means of milk parameters: I. Daily milk yield, fat and protein concentrations, fat-protein-quotient and urea concentration

Dirksen, G.; Hagert-Theen, C.; Alexander-Katz, M.; Berger, A.

Tieraerztliche Umschau 52(6): 319-324


ISSN/ISBN: 0049-3864
Accession: 009048582

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Metabolic imbalances of the dairy cow during high lactation are causing health problems and markedly reduce its profitability. Therefore, it seems indicated to monitor the metabolism of the animals during that period at short intervals. Milk would be a suitable medium for that purpose, provided that the metabolic status of the cow could be adequately defined by simple and cost-effective parameters. The daily milk yield usually is a sensitive indicator of the well-being of the dairy cow and the balance of its metabolism. However, during early lactation a (relative) reduction of the daily output may persist unrecognized unless the daily milk yields are compared at short intervals. The fat-protein-quotient proved to be a useful parameter for the assessment of the energy intake in the group as well as for the detection of metabolic imbalances in the individual animal. It can be used, however, not earlier than with the stabilization of the milk yield and of the fat and protein concentrations (around 4th-6th week of lactation). Influences of management and nutrition have to be considered During high lactation milk urea and protein concentrations did not give a reliable information on the energy and protein intake of the dairy cow. On the other hand high milk urea concentrations can indicate an oversupply with food protein or NPN containing feedstuffs, e.g. due to over-fertilization of the pasture. High blood area concentrations, furthermore, might have detrimental effects on fertility. Therefore milk urea determination should be routinely used as screening test.