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Comparison between dual-purpose and specialized dairy cattle in pasture-based systems: change in body condition, locomotion score and cleanliness from summer to winter season

Scholl, Francisca (2017) Comparison between dual-purpose and specialized dairy cattle in pasture-based systems: change in body condition, locomotion score and cleanliness from summer to winter season. Masters thesis, Wageningen University , Behavioural Ecology Group. . [Completed]

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Summary

This study is an exploratory research comparing the changes of body condition score, locomotion score and cleanliness score between pasture and indoor season in purebred Dutch Friesian, 75% Dutch Friesian, 50% Dutch Friesian, Holstein Bakels and Brown Swiss dairy cattle. The dual-purpose cows were expected to cope better with a change in season and harsher environmental conditions compared to specialized dairy cows. Therefore it was expected that the body condition of the dual-purpose cows would be closer to the optimum or even higher and would barely change over season. The specialized dairy cows were expected to cope less well on pastures and during a change of season, with a body condition under the optimum, higher prevalence of lameness and more dirt on the skin, compared to the dual-purpose breeds. Twenty-seven Holstein Bakels cows represented the specialized dairy breed in this study. The dual-purpose cows were represented by fifteen Brown Swiss cows and fifty-two purebred and crossbred Dutch Friesian cows. The Holstein Bakels and Brown Swiss cows were kept at a Polish bio-dynamic farm with an open barn housing concept and a low concentrate feed diet. The purebred and crossbred Dutch Friesian cows were housed at one organic and one conventional farm at different locations in the Netherlands. Body condition score was the highest (just above optimal) for the Dutch Friesian cattle compared to all other breeds and the Holstein Bakels and Brown Swiss breed scored the lowest (under the optimal score). A negative correlation between body condition and locomotion score, as well as a positive correlation between body condition and hygiene score was found. This shows that skinny individuals are more prone to lameness, but not necessarily dirtier. Severely fat individuals show less incidences of lameness, however they are more often covered with dirt. Milk yield was the highest for 50% Dutch Friesian, followed by 75% Dutch Friesian and Dutch Friesian, probably due to the amount of Holstein Friesian genes. The Holstein Bakels and Brown Swiss breed underperformed for milk yield. This shows that the dual-purpose breed Dutch Friesian can cope better with harsher environmental conditions of pasture based systems than more specialised dairy breeds like the Holstein Bakels. Furthermore, the Brown Swiss breed could be considered more as a specialized dairy breed than a dual purpose breed. Change over season might be more dependent on housing, feed quality and quantity and management than genotype.


EPrint Type:Thesis
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Animal husbandry
Research affiliation: Netherlands > Wageningen University and Research Centre WUR
Deposited By: König, Prof. Dr. Sven
ID Code:33604
Deposited On:18 Sep 2018 09:46
Last Modified:18 Sep 2018 09:46
Document Language:English
Status:Unpublished

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