The aim of this study was to determine the effects of pasture allowance postpartum on the initiation of ovarian activity, metabolite and hormonal secretion, and milk production. After calving, thirty six HolsteinFriesian heifers (BCS 5.0) received either unrestricted pasture allowance (UNR; n=18) or restricted (RES; 73% dry matter intake of the unrestricted group;n=18) pasture allowance. The LW was lower (P < 0.05) for the RES group than the UNR group. Body condition score of all heifers decreased after calving in both groups. The mean time to ovulation was similar for UNR 50.0 and RES 50.3 sed. 8.2 days after individual calving date. The daily average from week 2 for milksolids, protein and lactose yield was lower (P < 0.05) in the RES group. Plasma concentrations of insulin were lower (P = 0.0085) in the RES group when compared to the UNR group. Glucose concentrations was lower (P = 0.016) in the RES group. Plasma concentration of NEFA was greater (P = 0.001) in the RES group. There was an interaction with treatment differences decreasing by week 11 and 12 for glucose (P =0.001) and NEFA (P =0.006). Plasma concentrations of leptin (P = 0.013) and IGF-I (P = 0.026) were lower in the RES. No differences, associated with postpartum nutrition, were found for plasma GH. Restricted feeding postpartum had no effect on days to first postpartum ovulation but decreased liveweight, milk production and affected some metabolic hormones during postpartum.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 67, Wanaka, 255-260, 2007
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