An extended postpartum anovulatory interval (PPAI) is the major form of infertility in New Zealand (NZ) dairy cattle. Recently, Holstein cows, originating from North American genetic strains (Overseas; OS), have been widely used in NZ. Worldwide, there is concern over an apparent decline in the fertility of Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle. This study determined whether differences existed in PPAI, BCS and parameters of reproductive performance between NZ and OS Holstein-Friesians. One hundred and forty-six records from 88 NZ animals of high genetic merit for milk production (NZH), 81 records from 48 NZ animals of low genetic merit (NZL), and 137 records from 88 OS high genetic merit animals that calved in Years 1 (all two-year-olds) and 2 (two- and three-year-olds) were included. Over both years PPAI in two-year-olds were significantly shorter in OS (20 days shorter) and NZL (12 days shorter) than in NZH animals (P<0.05). Body condition score at calving, and BCS loss from calving to four weeks postpartum were not different between strains. In Year 1 of the study significantly more NZH than NZL or OS 2-year-olds were treated for anoestrus prior to the start of mating (P=0.001). Other measures of reproductive performance did not differ significantly between strains. The differences in PPAI require further investigation.

LR, McNaughton, GA Verkerk, TJ Parkinson, KA MacDonald, and CW Holmes

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 63, Queenstown, 77-81, 2003
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