Body condition assessment in a grazing Jersey cows herd in the highlands of Cartago. Variations during the productive cycle
The aim of this research was to carry out a body condition score (BCS) observational study in a commercial grazing Jersey herd in Cartago, Costa Rica (9?55` N, 83?51` W, 2350 m of altitude). The study comprised 5864 BCS records from 122 cows (29 primiparous and 93 multiparous) over an 18 months peri...
|Main Authors:||Sabor?o Montero, Alejandro, S?nchez Gonz?lez, Jorge Manuel|
The aim of this research was to carry out a body condition score (BCS) observational study in a commercial grazing Jersey herd in Cartago, Costa Rica (9?55` N, 83?51` W, 2350 m of altitude). The study comprised 5864 BCS records from 122 cows (29 primiparous and 93 multiparous) over an 18 months period. Cows were scored weekly by the same person, from 9 th week prepartum to 43 th week postpartum. The 1 to 5 points scale was used (1=emaciated, 5=obese). Animal feeding practices were based on intensive grazing of 30 d regrowth kikuyu (Kikuyuocloa clandestina) and supplementation of a balanced concentrate according to physiological stage. Primiparous and multiparous cows BCS at calving was 4.01 points (95% CI: 3.80-4.22 points) and 3.83 points (95% CI: 3.71-3.94 points) respectively, BCS nadir after calving differed (p<0.05) between primiparous (3.10 points; 95% CI: 2.97-3.23 points) and multiparous cows (2.86 points; 95% CI: 2.76-2.96 points). When stratifying BCS at calving into values ?3.25, 3.50 to 4.00 and ?4.25 points, differences (p<0.01) were found in nadir and BCS change extreme values within primiparous or multiparous groups of cows. Animals that calved with higher BCS lost more BCS post calving, but remained at a greater BCS at nadir and the whole lactation. Results suggest that BCS at calving could be used as a partial indicator of BCS nadir and BCS change from calving to nadir, which has important implications on production and fertility of cows.