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Optimization of Service Period in Karan Fries Cattle under Sub-Tropical Climatic Condition

K. Puhle Japheth R. K. Mehla Mayur R. Thul Pranay Bharti
Vol 8(5), 172-180

The primary objective of the study was to determine the optimum length of service period that can maximize the production across the adjacent lactations and life time yield. Performance records of Karan Fries (KF) cow which were maintained at Livestock Research Centre (NDRI), with respect to service period spread over a period of 15 years (1998-2012) were collected for the study. Data of 681 KF cows were analysed by Least Square Technique to examine the effect of non-genetic factors on service period. Season of calving was classified into four seasons (i.e. winter, summer, rainy and autumn), period of birth into five periods (i.e. I-V) and parity into six (i.e. I-VI). For optimization of service period with regard to milk productivity, analysis was carried out by class interval method. Service period was classified into nine (1-9) classes, ranging from ˂ 51 to >185 days. The overall least square mean of service period was 133.66 ± 3.89 days. Effect of period of birth and parity was significant (P˂0.05) on service period, while season of calving was not significant on service period. The optimum level of service period was obtained at 52-70 days. From the study, it can be concluded that this service period length is suitable for maximising the production in the subsequent lactation.

Keywords : Economic Trait Karan Fries Non-Genetic Factors Optimisation Service Period

The reproductive performance of the breeding female is probably the single most important factor that is a prerequisite for sustainable dairy production system and influencing the productivity Kiwuwa et al. (1983). The success of dairy production in general and crossbreeding programmes in particular needs to be monitored regularly by assessing the productive and reproductive performance under the existing management system. The development of Karan Fries cattle was started in 1971 by using Tharparkar (Zebu cattle) and three exotic breeds (i.e. Holstein Friesian, Brown Swiss and Jersey). The main objective of this was to determine the appropriate choice of exotic breed and optimum level of exotic germplasm Singh & Gurnani (2004). The present ‘Karan Fries’ is 62.5% level of Holstein Friesian inheritance Gurnani et al.  (1986).

Service period length is an important factor influencing the milk production capacity in the same lactation and regulating calving interval of dairy animals. An optimum service period is necessary for providing the required rest to the animal after calving so that proper involution of uterus and energy regain takes place for subsequent lactation. A long service period would lead to higher calving interval. However, both shorter and longer service period causes loss of production. The effect of service period on milk yield per day of calving interval (MY/CI), income over feed cost per day of calving interval and economic efficiency was significant Jadhav et al. (1991). So, to maximise the milk production, optimum length of service period should be judged and obtained.

In spite of many remarkable performances, there is a wide range of variability in range of service period of Karan Fries cow that affects the productive as well as reproductive performance of the cows. Therefore, the study was conducted with the objective to find out the optimum level of service period in a narrower range which would be considered as optimum so as to improve milk production not only in the particular lactation but also in the overall performance of the animal by enhancing genetic gain.

Materials and Method

Experimental Location

This study was conducted at National Dairy research Institute (NDRI), Karnal. NDRI is located at an altitude of 250 metres above the sea level, in the Indo-Gangetic alluvial plains at 29 degree 42’N and latitude 72 degree 54’ E longitude. The climate of Karnal is subtropical in nature with temperature ranging between 2°C winter and 45 °C in summer respectively. The area receives an annual rainfall of 760 – 960 mm and relative humidity varied from 41-85%.

Housing Management

The Karan Fries cows were kept under loose housing system. The open paddocks are brick on edge flooring system with adequate space available to provide exercise. The pregnant cows were transferred to maternal pen two weeks prior to the actual date of calving. Pregnant cows were provided single pen with ample space of 12x12m2 (as per BIS standard), proper ventilation and drainage system. During summer season, cows were provided with provision of fan and water sprinklers to mitigate heat stress.

Feeding and other Management

The nutritional requirement of Karan Fries cows were met through both roughages and concentrate. The farm practices ad lib feeding of thrice a day (i.e. morning, afternoon and evening) with good quality green fodder throughout the year such as berseem, lucern, cow pea, maize, jowar, bajra, wheat etc. Silage and hay were also provided during the lean season of green fodders. Concentrate were given to the cows as per their milk production at the time of milking (i.e. morning, afternoon and evening). The cows accessed to ad libitum fresh drinking water day and night. The KF cows were milked by machine milking method. Milking is done thrice a day i.e. early morning, afternoon and evening. The average milk yield in a lactation and milk yield per day were 4677.84 ± 50.35 kg and 12.93 ± 0.99kg respectively Japheth et al. (2015). All the sanitary care and measure were taken before, during and after milking. Artificial insemination has been adopted for breeding the cows. Selective breeding policy with major emphasis on the selection of fertile bull on the basis of performance of the progeny is followed. All types of veterinary aids, prophylactic and sanitary measures were taken care.

Data Collection and Classification

Data comprises of 681 lactation records of production and reproduction of Karan Fries cows from 1998 to 2012 (15 years), were collected for the study. The lactation records of 250 days and above were considered in the study to see the effects of season of calving, period of calving and parity on service period. The records of abnormal lactation, incomplete lactation, abortions and other abnormalities were omitted for the study. The data were classified and coded according to different seasons; winter (December – March), summer (April – June), rainy (July – September),  autumn (October – November): period of calving; 1998-2000 (I), 2001-2003 (II), 2004-2006 (III), 2007-2009 (IV) and 2010-2012 (V) and parities; first parity (1st), second parity (2nd), third parity (3rd), fourth parity (4th), fifth parity (5th) and sixth and above parity (>6) to observe the effect of non genetic factors  on service period.

Statistical Analysis

The data were subjected to Least-Squares Technique Harvey (1975) for the effects of season, period and parity on service period. Duncan’s Multiple Range Test (DMRT) was used to test the significance differences between treatments’ means Kramer (1957). The Least Squares Analysis model is given as-

Yijkl = μ + Si + Pj + Ak + eijkl


Yijkl = Dependent trait (SP) of Ith cow born in ith season, jth period and kth parity

μ   = Overall mean; Si    = Effect of ith season of calving (i=1-4)

Pj   = Effect of jth period of calving (j=1-5); Ak = Effect of kth parity (k=1-6)

eijkl = Random error, NID with zero and  constant variance (0,σe2).

Optimization of Service Period

For optimisation of service period with regard to milk productivity, the various service period length were classified into nine (1-9) classes (Table 1). Class interval for service period was calculated with the help of Sturges formula (1926).

C=R/1+3.322 log10N


C = Width of class/class interval

N = Number of observation

R = Range (maximum – minimum)

1+3.322log10N = Number of classes

Table 1: Different classes of SP and average means value of 305DMY and TMY

S. No. SP Class (days) No. of obs. % of Animals Average 305DMY  (kg) Average TMY

(kg) *

1 ˂ 51 67 7.55 3817.23 ± 131.22 3923.43 ± 148.35a
2 52-70 120 13.52 3973.37 ± 98.04 4039.43 ± 110.85ab
3 71-89 97 10.93 3948.97 ± 109.06 3993.92 ± 123.29ab
4 90-108 96 10.82 3818.47 ± 109.62 4164.4 ± 123.93ab
5 109-127 90 10.14 3997.91 ± 113.21 4274.22 ± 128.00b
6 128-146 59 6.65 3787.81 ± 139.83 4139.87 ± 158.09ab
7 147-165 61 6.87 4002.69 ± 137.32 4822.69 ± 155.47cd
8 166-184 68 7.66 4003.91 ± 130.25 4660.24 ± 147.25c
9 ˃185 229 25.79 3946.29± 176.73 5235.40 ± 199.80d

The values with different superscript within a column differs significantly 5% (*)

SP=Service period; 305DMY=305 days or less milk yield; TMY=Total milk yield

The significant differences among mean of different classes of service period was studied by using least squares analysis. The model used is given below:

Yij = μ + Ci + eij


Yij = jth observation of ith class SP

Ci = Effect of ith class of SP

I = 1, 2 …9 class of SP

eij = Random error, assumed to be normally and independently distributed with mean zero and constant variance i.e. NID (0, σe2)

Results and Discussion

Average Mean of Service Period

Service period is the interval from calving to the next conception. It has an economic importance because a longer service period increases the calving interval, resulting in a reduced life time production. The overall least squares means of service period in the study was 133.66 ± 3.89 days  (Table 2), which was in agreement with (Deshpande et al.,1988; Singh and Tomar, 1991 and Pyne et al., 1988) in various HF crossbred. However, higher average means of service period were reported by Arora et al. (1993) in Frieswal, Singh (1995) in Karan Fries, Rafique et al. (1999) and Rahman and Alemam (2008) in HF and Zebu cross. Lower mean value were also reported by Deshpande et al. (1988) and Pyne and Dattagupta (1994).

Table 2: Least Square Means ± SE value and effects of non-genetic factors on SP

Parameters No. of Observations SP (days)
Overall means 887 133.66 ± 3.89
Season of calving
Winter 328 135.18±4.67
Summer 230 135.07±5.17
Rainy 184 134.43±5.66
Autumn 145 129.94±6.25
Period of calving *
I 125 123.15±7.02a
II 193 133.65±5.59ab
III 228 128.84±4.95a
IV 241 134.24±5.07ab
V 100 148.40±7.33b
Parity *
1st 359 144.82±3.93e
2nd 227 134.72±4.72d
3rd 139 123.99±6.00b
4th 80 130.78±7.93c
5th 44 121.06±10.72a
6th & above parity 38 146.56±11.46f

The values with different superscript within a column differs significantly 5% (*)

SE=Standard error; SP=Service period

Effect of Non-Genetic Factors on Service Period

There was non-significant effect of season of calving on service period. Similar findings were also reported by Su (1988) and Singh (1995) in Karan Swiss cattle while Rafique et al. (1999) and Hammoud and Salem (2013) reported significant effect in HF crossbred and in Egyptian HF. Those KF cows calved during winter season has the longest service period (135.18±4.67 days) compared to autumn calvers (129.94±6.25 days) having the shortest service period (Table 2).

Period of calving was significant (P<0.05) on service period. Similar reports are also given by Singh and Gurnani (2004) in KF cattle and Manoj et al. (2012) in Sahiwal cattle. Although, non significant results are also reported by Jadhav et al. (1991) in HFxSW and Singh (1995) in Karan Fries and Karan Swiss cattle. However, significant effect of period of calving, season of calving and parity on service period was reported in Sahiwal cattle Rehman and Khan (2012). Service period was longest in V-period (148.40±7.33 days) while shortest in I-period (123.15±7.02 days). The results of the present study revealed that parity had significant effect (P˂0.05) on service period. Cows in six lactation and above showed highest service period (146.56±11.46 days), while it was lowest in fifth lactation (121.06±10.72 days). The variation of service period in different periods, seasons and parities might be due to managemental problem, failure of heat detection and failure of A.I. and other reproductive disorders.

Optimization of Service Period

Service period was divided into nine different classes (Table 1 & 3). Due to lesser number of observations in the first two classes and last few classes, the service period were combined together. The averages of 305 days or less milk yield (305DMY), total milk yield (TMY), milk yield per day of lactation length (MY/LL) and milk yield per day of calving interval (MY/CI) of different classes of service period were estimated and discussed below.

Service Period and 305 DMY and TMY

The different mean average value of 305 days or less milk and total milk yield for each class of service period were estimated and presented (Table 1). Maximum 305DMY (4003.91 ± 130.25kg) and maximum TMY (5235.40 ± 199.80kg) was observed in 8th class (166-184 days) and 9th class (˃185 days) respectively. While minimum average mean yield of 305 DMY (3787.81 ± 139.83 kg) and TMY (3923.43 ± 148.35 kg) was observed in 6th class (128-146 days) and 1st class (˂ 51 days). Maximum numbers of animal observations was found on 9th class (25.79%) while minimum numbers of animal observation was in 6th class (6.65%). The lactation milk yield was affected by period of calving (P<0.01) and season of calving (P<0.05) Wondifraw et al. (2013) in HF x Deoni cross. Similar observation of significant effect of period of calving was also reported by Komatwar et al. (2010). However, Gadmade (1999) reported non-significant effect of period of calving on lactation milk yield and El-shalmani (2011) non significant effect of season of calving on lactation total milk yield. Maximum production occurred during winter season and milk production was depressed for cows calving in summer. Similar findings were also reported by Wondifraw et al. (2013) in HFxDeoni cross, Gaur (2007); Mishra and Joshi (2009) and Japheth et al. (2015). This variation could be due to the type of feed, environmental deviations and level of management, which varies greatly during different seasons and year to year.

The Least Squares Analysis indicates that service period had significant effect on TMY while showed non-significant effect on 305DMY. Although, 305DMY and total milk yield were higher in 8th and 9th classes, the service period were extremely long and only few number of animal observations (9th class is a combination of several classes) fall in this class as a result it is not economical. The 2nd class has the highest numbers of animal observations on single class basis (13.52%) with an appropriate service period length couple with a quit impressive performance of milk yield. This period can be achievable and more profitable as compared to other classes. Moreover, higher service period would lead to increase calving interval and decreases lifetime production. Also, too short service period may result in reproductive disturbance which is not conducive for proper involution of uterus and nidation of fertilized ovum.

Service Period and Milk Yield per Day of Lactation Length

The averages of different mean value of MY/LL for each class of service period was estimated and presented (Table 3). The result which showed maximum MY/LL (13.39 ± 0.30 kg) was observed in 2nd class (52-70 days) while 6th class (128-146 days) showed minimum MY/LL (11.74 ± 0.43 kg). Maximum numbers of animal observation (25.79%) was falls in 9th class (52-70 days) while minimum numbers of animal observation (6.65%) falls in 6th class (128-146 days). Milk yield per day of lactation length is a very important production efficiency trait, which is a combination of milk yield and lactation length. Cows with high milk yield per day of lactation length (MY/DLL) are economic producers and have more lactation milk yield. In the estimates of MY/LL, milk yield on average basis of the lactation length were calculated without taking into account the initial low production, peak yield and the declining in production in the last phase of the lactation.

Table 3: Different classes of SP and average means value of MY/LL and MY/CI

S. No. SP Class (days) No. of obs. % of animals Average MY/LL  (kg) * Average MY/CI (kg)
1 ˂ 51 67 7.55 13.11 ± 0.40d 11.88 ± 1.31
2 52-70 120 13.52 13.39 ± 0.30e 11.90 ± 0.98
3 71-89 97 10.93 13.11 ± 0.33de 11.06 ± 1.09
4 90-108 96 10.82 13.10 ± 0.34de 11.23 ± 1.09
5 109-127 90 10.14 12.72 ± 0.35c 10.73 ± 1.13
6 128-146 59 6.65 11.74 ± 0.43a 10.01 ± 1.40
7 147-165 61 6.87 12.19 ± 0.42bc 11.10 ± 1.37
8 166-184 68 7.66 12.25 ± 0.40bcd 10.28 ± 1.30
9 ˃185 229 25.79 11.96 ± 0.54b 10.13 ± 1.76

The values with different superscript within a column differs significantly 5% (*)

SP=Service period; MY/LL=Milk yield per day of lactation length; MY/CI=Milk yield per day of calving interval

Service Period and Milk Yield per Day of Calving Interval

The averages of MY/CI for each class of service period was estimated and presented (Table 3). The observation which showed maximum average MY/CI (11.90 ± 0.98 kg) was found in 2nd class (52-70 days) with number of animal observation (13.52%) while the observation which showed minimum average MY/CI was found in 6th class (128-146 days) with 6.65% of animals observation. Longer calving interval which results due to extended service period or shorter lactation length with longer dry period can both affect significantly on milk yield per day of lactation length.


From the economical points of view, it is obvious that higher service period would lead to increase calving interval and decreases lifetime production and also, too short service period may result in reproductive disturbance which is not conducive for proper involution of uterus and nidation of fertilized ovum. Hence, 52-70 days service period was the optimum range for KF cows as this class is more profitable and suitable as compared to other classes. Therefore, improvement in feeding and breeding management and removal on low-productivity animals may improve the performance of KF cows. However, one should aim to breed cows to achieve a service period of appropriate length to maximise productivity in the next lactation, as both early and late servicing of cow could brings reduction in the economic profitability of dairy animals.


The authors wish to thank the Director of NDRI, Karnal, for providing the necessary facilities. Furthermore, sincere thanks and gratitude are given to Dr. U. S. Narwaria, Shri. Gian Singh, Dr. Ulfina Galmessa and Livestock Record Unit, for their help and support during the research work.


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