Extending the calving interval from the traditional 12-month to a 24-month calving interval has been suggested as a practical solution for maximizing lactation yield per calving. Somatic cell count (SCC) and the incidence of mastitis were examined in New Zealand (NZ) and overseas (OS) Holstein-Friesian cows fed on pasture alone or supplemented with 3 or 6 kg DM maize/barley concentrates/cow/day during an extended lactation of up to 21 months. Average cow SCC was three-fold higher (P<0.001) in the extended or second season of the lactation compared with the first season, with NZ cows having a slightly higher SCC (P<0.01) in the second season compared to OS cows (191,000 and 115,000 cells/ml respectively). The SCC elevations occurred regardless of infection status of the udder. Although OS cows tended to have twice as many cases of clinical mastitis (P=0.01) in the first season compared to the NZ cows, affecting 59% and 27% of cows respectively, there was no difference in infection status between genotypes in the second season (20% and 18% respectively). Results showed that although cows experienced less mastitis during the second spring of the lactation, the average cow SCC was higher during the extended part of the lactation.

SJ, Lacy-Hulbert, EL Summers, JH Williamson, PW Aspin, and ES Kolver

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 66, Napier, 236-240, 2006
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