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Research article2000Peer reviewed

Milk production in Swedish dairy cows managed for calving intervals of 12 and 15 months

Rehn, Harriet; Berglund, Britt; Emanuelson, Ulf; Tengroth, Gudrun M; Philipsson, Jan


The effects of calving intervals of 12 and 15 months on milk yield and milk composition were studied in 105 Swedish Red and White (SRB) and 46 Swedish Holstein (SLB) cows with 280 initiated lactations and 165 completed lactations (followed by another calving). The cows were divided into two groups, one early inseminated and the other late inseminated. The cows in the early group were inseminated at first oestrus 50 days after calving, aiming at a conventional 12-month calving interval, and the second group 140 days after calving, aiming at an extended calving interval of 15 months. Effects were studied by mixed-model analysis. Compared with the 12-month groups, total milk yield increased by 15-16% in the extended calving interval groups of both breeds, while fat, protein and lactose contents were slightly lower. The duration of lactation was 55-60 days longer in the 15-month than in the 12-month groups of both breeds. Given the possibility of a longer lactation, primiparous cows generally maintained their production longer than multiparous cows. SLB cows, especially those with a high peak yield, maintained their production longer than SRB cows. Average milk production per day within a calving interval tended to be slightly lower (2-5%) in both breeds when the interval was extended, owing to longer periods with low production and longer dry periods.


dairy cattle; extended calving interval; milk production

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science
2000, Volume: 50, number: 4, pages: 263-271