Skeletal muscle and adipose tissue reserves and mobilisation in transition Holstein cows: Part 2 association with postpartum health, reproductive performance and milk production

N. Siachos, G. Oikonomou, N. Panousis, V. Tsiamadis, G. Banos, G. Arsenos, G. E. Valergakis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study was, for the first time, to simultaneously assess the association of skeletal muscle and subcutaneous fat reserves and their mobilisation, measured by ultrasonography, with the incidence of specific postparturient health, reproduction, and milk production traits. For this purpose, ultrasound measurements of longissimus dorsi thickness (LDT) and backfat thickness (BFT) from 238 multiparous cows from 6 dairy farms were obtained at 6 time points during the transition period (from 21 days pre- to 28 days postpartum). In each case, LDT and BFT measurements at each time point and LDT and BFT mobilisation variables at each study period were assessed simultaneously. Cases of specific clinical postparturient diseases and subclinical ketosis were recorded. An additional disease trait was used, defined as the presence or absence of at least one clinical condition after calving (CD_1-28). The associated disease odds with LDT/BFT variables were assessed with binary logistic regression models. The associated hazard for 1st artificial insemination (AI) and for pregnancy by 150 days-in-milk (PREG_150DIM) was assessed with Cox proportional hazard models. Moreover, binary logistic models were used to assess the associated odds for pregnancy to 1stAI (PREG_1stAI). Finally, association with 30d, 100d and 305d milk yield was assessed with linear regression models. Increased muscle depth during transition was negatively associated with odds for metritis and CD_1-28, while associations with odds for subclinical ketosis were inconclusive. Moreover, increased LDT reserves were associated with greater hazard for 1st AI by 150 days-in-milk, but results were inconclusive regarding odds for PREG_1stAI. Increased LDT mobilisation was associated with increased odds for metritis. Increased BFT reserves were positively associated with odds for metritis, CD_1-28 and subclinical ketosis and with decreased hazard for PREG_150DIM. Increased BFT mobilisation was associated with increased odds for subclinical ketosis and with decreased odds for PREG_1stAI and decreased hazard for PREG_150DIM. Cows with moderate BFT reserves performed better. Finally, increased BFT mobilisation during −21d to −7d from parturition was associated with less milk by 30d and 100d. On the contrary, increased BFT mobilisation during −7d to 7d was associated with more milk by 305d. Metabolism of muscle and fat tissue during transition period was differently associated with different postparturient health, reproduction and milk production traits. In general, greater muscle mass and moderate fat reserves with limited muscle and fat mobilisation were associated with better performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100626
JournalAnimal
Volume16
Issue number9
Early online date7 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Backfat
  • Fertility
  • Longissimus dorsi
  • Milk yield
  • Postparturient diseases

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