The objective of study was to know the change in BCS at different stages and effect of BCS at stage II (post-partum) on 90 day lactation yield, peak yield, day to attain peak yield, post partum interval to estrus (PPIE) and calf birth weight in Tharparkar cattle. Overall mean values for BCS during stages I to VIII were 4.17 ± 0.11, 4.00 ± 0.11, 3.90 ± 0.07, 3.73 ± 0.08, 3.57 ± 0.06, 3.57 ± 0.07, 3.70 ± 0.06 and 3.85 ± 0.06 respectively. The 90 days milk yield was non-significant among three groups. There is a significant difference between groups for peak yield. The cows with BCS values ≥ 4 expressed highest peak yields (6.06 ± 0.90 kg). Significant differences (p ≤ 0.01) between group 1, 2 and 3 were also found for days to attain peak yield and postpartum interval to estrus. . Cows with less than 3.5 BCS had highest postpartum interval to estrus (53.50 ± 18.57 d) but differs non-significantly from other groups. Significant differences (p ≤ 0.05) existed among calf birth weights for these groups. In Tharparkar cattle, BCS 3.5 to 4.0 is better for fetus growth. Higher milk yield, peak yield, and day to attain peak, while lower post partum interval to estrus (PPIE) were supported by more than 4 BCS in Tharparkar cattle. These findings suggest that BCS adjustment at post partum period may beneficial for production and reproduction point of view.
Body condition scoring has been widely accepted as the most practical method for assessing changes in energy reserves in many species, including dairy cattle. Both absolute BCS, particularly at calving and changes in BCS during early lactation influence animal health and reproduction. The high genetic merit dairy cattle have a higher predisposition for mobilization of body fat reserves to cover milk production demands (Veerkamp, 1998; Pryce et al., 2002). High producer cows had lower BCS during lactation and their BCS changes after calving were higher than in cows with lower genetic merit (Buckley et al., 2000; Horan et al., 2005). Gallo et al., 1999, who observed a higher and more prolonged BCS loss in cows with higher milk yield. Therefore, BCS and milk yield are in a negative correlation (Veerkamp and Brotherstone, 1997), and high-yielding dairy cows generally have a lower BCS (Pryce et al., 2001). A decrease in BCS post partum depends not only on the milk yield level but also on the BCS level at calving. Rhodes et al., 2003 and Roche et al., 2007 examined the relationships between BCS at the time of calving and mating, negative energy balance duration and reproduction. A higher BCS level before calving, at calving and during early lactation was associated with a higher probability of being detected in estrus before the planned start of mating and higher probability of being mated after the first insemination. Roche et al. (2007) in their study found that reproductive performance was significantly affected by BCS and it changes during lactation. Suriyasathaporn et al., 1998 found that cows with BCS < 3 required more time for conception than cows with higher BCS at calving. Markusfeld et al. (1997) showed that primiparous cows with high BCS at calving experienced fewer days open. It is necessary to verify these observations in order to recommend body condition scoring as a method of evaluating nutritional and reproduction management of dairy cows in dual purpose indigenous cattle. Godara et al. (2016) found the effect pre partum BCS on these parameters. The objective of study was to know the effect of BCS at stage II (post-partum) on 90 day lactation yield, peak yield, day to attain peak yield, post partum interval to estrus (PPIE) and calf birth weight in Tharparkar cattle.
Material and Methods
The experiment was performed in 2013-2014 in herd of Tharparkar cattle maintained at Cattle and Buffalo Farm, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, U.P. (India). 18 cows were included in the study. All the animals were more than 6 years of age (attained full body growth) having 2nd & 3rd lactation. At the start of scoring (stage I) animal were in advance stage of pregnancy. During the experiment, the body condition score was measured (by the same assessor) according to a five-point scale (1 = thin cow, 5 = over-conditioned cow) as per Endmonson et al., 1989. The scales have been combined into a BCS card provided by the Elanco Animal Health (1997) which was used as support during the scoring. Body condition score of the animals were recorded at eight stages as described: Stage- I: 15 days before expected date of calving; Stage-II: Within 3 days of calving; Stage- III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII: 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 days after calving, respectively. Further, data from the milk and reproduction performance of herd available in farm record were used. Groups of cows according to BCS within three days calving: Group 1: BCS ≤ 3.5; Group 2: (BCS > 3.5 ≤ 4.0); Group 3: BCS > 4.0.
The data were subjected to repeated measures of analysis of variance (ANOVA). Duncan test was used for post hoc evaluation. All calculations were performed using the statistical software SPSS version 17 (SPSS Inc., USA). A P-value of ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results and Discussion
Overall Body Condition Score and Body Weights at Different Stages and Their Losses in Early Lactation
Overall mean values for BCS and mean live body weights during stages I to VIII has been depicted in Table 1.
Table 1: Overall BCS and body weight at different stages
|Stages||BCS||Body weight (kg)|
|I||4.17 ± 0.11||396.11 ± 11.51|
|II||4.00 ± 0.11||373.89 ± 11.59|
|III||3.90 ± 0.07||371.38 ± 12.01|
|IV||3.73 ± 0.08||359.17 ± 12.16|
|V||3.57 ± 0.06||356.11 ± 11.71|
|VI||3.57 ± 0.07||364.17 ± 11.57|
|VII||3.70 ± 0.06||370.55 ± 12.83|
|VIII||3.85 ± 0.06||374.72 ± 13.11|
Fig. 1: Overall BCS at different stages (15 days before expected date of calving to 90 days of lactation) in Tharparkar cow
Highest BCS was 4.17 ± 0.11 (stage I) and lowest was 3.57 ± 0.06 (stage V). The BCS started declining from stage I to V and loss up to stage II was 0.17 BCS and it was 0.10 BCS between stage II and III while 0.33 BCS points between stage III and V, which was consistent with the reports of Hady et al. (1994), who reported that normal cows lose the greater portion of BCS during first 30 days of lactation. The BCS remains constant until 60 days in milk; thereafter cows may begin to increase body condition. The mean body weight (kg) was highest at stage I (396.11 ± 11.51) and lowest at stage V (356.11 ± 11.71). However, from stage VI onwards it increased.
Effect of Post Partum (stage II) BCS on 90 Days Milk Yield, Peak Yield, Day to Attain Peak Yield, Post Partum Interval to Estrus and Calf Birth Weight
Table 2 illustrates the data on 90 days milk yield, peak yield, day to attain peak yield, post partum interval to estrus and calf birth weight in three groups of animals. The 90 days milk yield was 317.88 ± 50.23, 270.50 ± 38.84 and 332.67 ± 65.30 kg for group 1, 2 and 3, respectively, which showed that it was lowest for group 2 and highest for group 3. The 90 days milk yield for three groups were within normal range of days a healthy cow takes to reach the peak. So the range of BCS studied were either normal or above normal. Peak yields for BCS (II) group 1, 2 and 3 were 4.13 ± 0.69, 5.50 ± 0.52 and 6.06 ± 0.90 kg, respectively. The group 1 differed significantly (p≤0.05) from group 3. This indicated that the animals with BCS values ≥ 4 expressed highest peak yields.
Table 2: Effect of BCS (at stage II) on 90 days milk yield, peak yield, days to attain peak, post partum interval to estrus and calf birth weight
|Particulars||90 Days milk yield (kg)||Peak yield (kg)||Days to attain peak (d)||PPIE (d)||Calf birth weight (kg)|
|Overall mean||312.11 ± 35.24 (18)||5.47 ± 0.51 (18)||30.39 ± 5.05 (18)||50.28 ± 7.49 (18)||22.10 ± 0.62 (18)|
|Stage II BCS classes||NS||*||**||NS||*|
|1 (BCS ≤ 3.5)||317.88±50.23 (4)||4.13±0.69 (4)||18.25±8.59 (4)||53.50±18.57(4)||21.00±0.91 (4)|
|2 (BCS > 3.5 ≤ 4.0)||270.50±38.84 (5)||5.50±0.52 (5)||32.40±1.89 (5)||49.40±16.06(5)||23.20±1.53 (5)|
|3 (BCS > 4.0)||332.67±65.30 (9)||6.06±0.90 (9)||34.67±9.21 (9)||49.33±10.42(9)||21.89±0.82 (9)|
Where, **: P ≤ 0.01; *: P ≤ 0.05; PPIE: Post partum interval to estrus and NS: Non-Significant
Figures given in the paranthesis indicates number of animals
The mean values for days to attain peak yield were 18.25 ± 8.59, 32.40 ± 3.43 and 34.67 ± 9.21 days for group 1, 2 and 3, respectively, which showed that days to attain peak yield was earlier for group 1 and longer for group 3. Significant differences (p≤0.01) between group 1, 2 and 3 were there.
Post partum interval to estrus for group 1, 2 and 3 (BCS II) were 53.50 ± 18.57, 49.40 ± 16.06 and 49.33 ± 10.42 days, respectively. Non-significant differences existed among postpartum interval to estrus, which were consistent with finding of Buckley et al. (2003) who suggested that calving BCS was not significantly associated with reproductive performance. Hegazy et al. (1997) reported that cows with high BCS at calving had a significantly shorter interval to first detected estrus. They reported that at BCS of 1.5 or more the interval was 59.l3 ± 4.35 days which decreased to 18.27 ± 0.46 days at BCS of 3.5 to 4.0 in Holstein cows. The mean values for calf birth weights were 21.00 ± 0.91, 23.20 ± 1.53 and 21.89 ± 0.82 kg for group 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Significant differences (p≤0.05) existed among calf birth weights for these groups. The significant difference in calf birth weights among the groups was possibly due to the reason that BCS 3.5 to 4.0 is better for fetus growth and fatty cows with more BCS (≥ 4.0) may have negative effect on birth weight of calf. Singh (2005) also reported similar findings in Vridavanicattle.
Higher milk yield, peak yield, and day to attain peak, while lower post partum interval to estrus (PPIE) were supported by more than 4 BCS in Tharparkar cattle. These findings suggest that BCS adjustment at post partum period may beneficial for production and reproduction point of view.
The authors are thankful to the ICAR, Director and Joint Director (Academic) of IVRI, Izatnagar for providing necessary funds and facilities to carry out research.