This study investigated the immediate and long-term effects of temporary alterations to milking frequency post-partum in grazing cows. Multiparous Holstein-Friesian cows (n = 150) were assigned to one of five groups at calving: milked twice daily (2X, Control), or either once daily (1X) or thrice daily (3X) for three or six weeks, and 2X thereafter. During Weeks 1-6 post-calving, 1X for six weeks resulted in greater decreases in milk, fat, protein and lactose yields (P <0.05) relative to 2X than 1X for three weeks. Furthermore, 1X for three or six weeks reduced fat, protein and lactose yields (P <0.05), and tended to reduce milk yields (P = 0.08), for the remainder of lactation (Weeks 8-32). Body condition was greater for 1X cows at Weeks 6 and 8 (P <0.05) and tended to be greater during Weeks 8-32 (P = 0.09). Milking 3X for three or six weeks increased milk yield (P <0.05) relative to 2X during Weeks 1-6 and milk yields were numerically greater during Weeks 8-32 (P = 0.17); however, fat and protein yields were not affected. Once-daily milking for three or six weeks postcalving had lactation-long negative effects on milk production, whereas 3X increased milk yield but did not result in short- or long-term benefits in fat and protein yields.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 71, Invercargill, 45-49, 2011
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