Increasing milking frequency from the usual practice of twice-daily can enhance milk production and, thus, may be profitable in high-intensity dairy production systems. A decrease of milking frequency to once-daily decreases yield but may be used to alleviate nutritional stress, to conserve cow condition, or simply as a lifestyle choice. Published values in the literature indicate that reducing milking frequency from twice daily to once daily decreases yield by 7—34%, and increasing milking frequency from twice daily to thrice daily increases yield by 7—20% (Davis et al., 1999; Stelwagen, 2001). Additionally, milking frequency can influence the rate of decline in post-peak production in cows (Stelwagen, 2001). In order to further understand and quantify the manner in which milking frequency affects lactation, a mechanistic mathematical model of mammary function has been developed (Vetharaniam, Davis, Soboleva, Shorten & Wake, Unpublished), based on mechanisms presented by Davis et al. (1999). As well as allowing analysis of the effect of milking frequency, this model also facilitated the exploration of some of the pathways through which nutrition influences mammary gland development (Davis et al. 2001).
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 61, Christchurch, 239-240, 2001
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