Effects of breed, feeding system, and parity on udder health and milking characteristics

S. Walsh, F. Buckley, D. P. Berry, M. Rath, K. Pierce, N. Byrne, P. Dillon

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67 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to quantify differences in udder health and milking characteristics among the Holstein-Friesian (HF), Montbéliarde (MB), Normande (NM), Norwegian Red (NRF), Montbéliarde × Holstein-Friesian (MBX), and Normande × Holstein-Friesian (NMX) genotypes, while considering the effect of feeding system and parity. A total of 749 lactations were available for inclusion in the analysis from 309 cows in 1 research herd over 5 yr. Somatic cell score (SCS; i.e., natural logarithm of somatic cell count) was used as an indicator of udder health. Milking duration (seconds/d) was defined as the sum of the milking duration in the a.m. and milking duration in the p.m. Average daily milk flow (AMF; kg/min) was defined as total daily milk yield divided by total daily milking duration. Peak milk flow (kg/min) was defined as the maximum rate of milk flow achieved in the daily milking process. The SCS of the NRF (10.31 units) and MB (10.47 units) breeds was less than that of the HF (10.96 SCS units), whereas that of the NM (10.88 SCS units), MBX (10.93 SCS units), and NMX (10.84 SCS units) breeds was similar to that of the HF. The MBX and NMX had the greatest AMF (1.56 and 1.54 kg/min, respectively) and the NM had the lowest (1.33 kg/min). Animals offered a high concentrate diet had greater AMF, peak milk flow, and milking duration. The differences expressed by the divergent breeds may reflect differences in the past breeding goals among the breeds, namely the inclusion of traits aimed at maintaining or improving udder health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5767-5779
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Breed
  • Dairy
  • Milking characteristic
  • Udder health


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