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Milk Production, Reproductive Performance, Milk Somatic Cell Count and Disease Incidences in Alternative Housing Systems for Dairy Cows

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Sixth International Dairy Housing Conference Proceeding, 16-18 June 2007, (Minneapolis, Minnesota) (Electronic Only)  701P0507e.(doi:10.13031/2013.22814)
Authors:   Egil Simensen, Camilla Kielland, Knut Egil Bøe, Lars Erik Ruud, Geir Næss
Keywords:   Keywords: Dairy cattle, tie-stalls, free-stalls, milk production, reproduction, disease incidence, cubicle flooring, mattress

The purpose of the present study was to compare performance and health in tie-stalls and loose housing, and to identify related risk factors in loose housing units. Results are presented from an epidemiological study based on housing data from a mail survey and production, reproduction and health data from Milk Recoding including the Cow Health Card System. The material included a total of 808 free-stalls and 196 tie-stalls. Milk production was significantly lower, reproductive performance better and the incidence of ketosis and teat injuries lower in the free-stall compared to tie-stall herds. A wider variability in disease incidence was recorded in the free-stall herds. In the free-stall group, the following factors had significant effects: Warm/cold housing (lower milk production in cold housing), roughage feeding system (higher milk production with automatic feeding) and cubicle flooring (higher milk production and lower somatic cell counts with mattresses). More in-depth analyses of the present material will be performed on the individual cow level. The study identified some general risk factors related to performance and health in loose housing. These factors will be studied in more detail in the second phase of the research programme.

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