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Suckling vs artificial rearing of Holstein-Zebu crossbred calves: I. Effect on performance of Holstein-Zebu dams



Suckling vs artificial rearing of Holstein-Zebu crossbred calves: I. Effect on performance of Holstein-Zebu dams



Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Zootecnia 22(3): 413-422



This experiment was conducted in Southeastern Brazil to compare the performance of Holstein-Zebu crossbred cows with calves present or absent at milking for 56 days of lactation. Fifty-five cows were subjected to 'restricted suckling" (PS) in which calves suckled one teat during the first 4 weeks of lactation, after other teats had been hand-milked. From 5 to 8 weeks, calves suckled all teats after normal milking. In the non-suckled system (NS), 51 cows were separated from their calves just after birth and were hand-milked without the presence of calves. AU calves were weaned at 2 months of age. Of the 106 cows, 82 were primiparous and 24 multiparous, and none had calves present when milked in previous lactations. There were no differences (P gt .10) between systems for calving to estrus (75 +- 5 d), lactation length (306 +- 4 d), milk composition (13.6 +- 0.11% total solids, 3.0 +- 0.1% protein and 4.4 +- 0.1% fat), body weight changes, or total milk yield including suckled milk (3,038 +- 112 kg/lactation. However, total salable milk was less (P lt .10) for NS than RS cows (2,753 +- 116 vs 3,030 +- 112 kg milk/lactation). Mastitis incidence was lower (P lt .05) in the "restricted suckling" during the suckling period. In conclusion, there were no differences between the RS and NS systems in lactation length, milk yield, or milk composition; but the amount of salable milk was higher and mastitis was similar for the RS system.

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