The objective of the study was to determine whether lactation could be re-initiated after several days without milking. Thirty-six cows in mid lactation were subjected to a single period without milking of either 2, 4 or 7 days. Following these periods twice daily milking resumed. Two days after resumption of twice daily milking, milk yield was depressed to 92, 80 and 51% of pre-treatment (twice a day milking) rates in the 2, 4 and 7-day treatments. The 2- and 4-d treatments achieved pre-treatment milk yields 3 and 4 days after the resumption of milking, respectively. The 7-d treatment failed to achieve pre-treatment yields in this time period. However, 6 days after the resumption of twice-daily milking there was no difference in average milk yield between the 3 groups. Following the resumption of milking, SCC exceeded 2 million cells/ml for the first day in all treatments. Within 3 days the SCC for the 2 and 4-day treatments were below the 400, 000 cells/ml penalty threshold. However, it took five days milking to achieve this level for the 7-day treatment. The results indicate that successful lactations can be re-established after up to 7 days without milking in mid-lactation, with minimal carry-over effects on milk yield for the rest of the lactation.

DE, Dalley, and SR Davis

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 66, Napier, 241-244, 2006
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