Herd and environmental determinants of reproductive performance in Swedish dairy herds, 2001–2009
Publication date: November 2019Source: Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, Volume 31Author(s): M.A. Stevenson, E. Löf, M. Söderström, H. Gustafsson, U. EmanuelsonAbstractThis was a retrospective cohort study of Swedish dairy herds. Summary measures of production and reproductive performance, details of soil, moss mineral concentrations, and temperature and rainfall measurements at each herd location were available for the period September 2001 to August 2009. A Bayesian mixed-effects regression model including spatial and non-spatial heterogeneity terms was developed to quantify associations between hypothesised explanatory variables and mean herd breeding interval, defined as the difference between mean calving to last service interval and mean calving to first service interval for each fiscal year.Mean herd breeding intervals were shorter in herds with greater than 80% Swedish Red Cattle, herds with lower mean age at first calving, herds comprised of older cows and in larger herds. None of the soil composition or moss mineral concentration estimates were associated with mean herd breeding interval and the effect of temperature and rainfall on mean herd breeding interval was small. We conclude that environmental conditions (soil composition, moss mineral concentrations, environmental temperature and rainfall) had relatively minor effects on dairy herd reproductive performance in Sweden between 2001 and 2009.
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