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Milk yield, udder health and reproductive performance in Swedish organic and conventional dairy herds

Fall, Nils and Emanuelson, Ulf (2009) Milk yield, udder health and reproductive performance in Swedish organic and conventional dairy herds. Journal of Dairy Research, 76 (4), pp. 402-410.

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Organic dairy farming is an expanding segment of the dairy sector where cow management differs from the conventional model in many respects. Thus, a comparative evaluation of disease and welfare status in organically and conventionally managed dairy cows is required. Assessment of milk yield, udder health and reproductive performance (RP) was done in 20 organically and 20 conventionally managed Swedish dairy herds. In accordance with earlier findings we confirmed lower milk yield in organic cows. Udder health and RP were chosen as indicators of animal health in view of their clinical relevance and the availability of appropriate data bases providing good background knowledge for further animal health assessment. No obvious differences were found in the investigations of somatic cell count (SCC) profiles or time to veterinary-treated cases of mastitis between organically and conventional managed cows. Pregnancy success at first insemination, an appropriate measurement of RP with biological interpretation and background, did not reveal any difference between management types, whereas the hazard rate-ratio (HR) of having a calving-interval was significantly lower (HR=0·71) in organically managed cows. The calving-interval is an important financial determinator in dairy production, but it is not considered an optimal indicator of biologic relevance as it partially reflects farmer decisions. In conclusion, the organically managed cows in this study did not differ from conventionally managed cows in udder health or RP, with the exception of calving interval.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Organic dairying; udder health; reproductive performance.
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Sweden > Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) > Department of Clinical Sciences
Deposited By: Fall, DVM, PhD Nils
ID Code:16441
Deposited On:05 Mar 2010 13:28
Last Modified:05 Mar 2010 13:28
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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