The aim was to quantify the relationship between pre- and postcalving level of feeding and their effect on milk production. Sixty-eight multiparous dairy cows were randomly allocated to two levels of pasture feeding (Low and High; 4.8 and 11.9 kg DM/day) for 29 ± 7.7 days precalving. At calving, cows were randomly allocated (within precalving levels) to two levels of pasture feeding (Low and High; 8.6 and 13.5 kg DM/day) for 35 days postcalving. Daily milk yields were recorded and fat, protein and lactose concentrations determined on 2 days each week for 5 weeks postcalving, and once weekly for an additional 10 weeks post treatment. Body condition score (BCS) at calving was 4.2 and 4.7 for precalving Low and High treatment groups, respectively. Precalving restriction reduced milk fat production by 8.4% during the first five weeks postcalving, but these differences were not evident subsequently. Postcalving feed restriction reduced yields of milk, fat and protein by 25, 21 and 28%, respectively, during the first five weeks postcalving. Decreased (P < 0.05) yields of milk, fat and protein (12, 10 and 9%, respectively) were also evident for ten weeks after the feed restriction finished. There was a trend towards a treatment interaction (P = 0.13) in milksolids (MS) production during the first five weeks of lactation between pre- and postcalving level of feeding. High- High cows produced 7.1 kg more MS than Low-High cows, but there was no effect of precalving level of feeding in cows that were restricted postcalving. Results confirm that level of feeding postcalving influences the milk production effect of precalving feeding. Nevertheless the effect of precalving energy intake on postcalving milk production is small. KEYWORDS: transition cow; pasture; dry matter intake.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 65, Christchurch, 215-220, 2005
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