Evaluation of growth intensity in dairy cattle
Keywords:Holstein breed, growth intensity, heifers
The growth intensity of cattle significantly affects their future production and reproduction performance. Despite this fact, many breeders underestimate the rearing of calves and heifers. Our study aimed to evaluate the growth intensity of Holstein calves and heifers in PD Devio Nové Sady based on non-contact measurement of live weight and body measurements through the analysis of digital images using the app AGRONINJA beefie3dTM. The growth intensity analysis was based on the standard Penn State protocol, which uses the Hoffman method to estimate growth standards. A total of 143 calves and heifers were evaluated in three independent measurements. Obtained data were compared to an optimal growth curve determined based on the weight and wither height of dairy cows on the third lactation and using a system of growth intensity requirements. The results showed several deficiencies in the growth intensity of animals on the selected farm. We observed a growth deficit in the height of the evaluated calves from 3 to approximately 4.5 months of age. In addition, we observed that heifers older than eight months exceeded the set weight optimum. We also found a significant decrease in growth intensity due to the disease which occurred in the herd. The results of this study showed that regular recording of data related to body measurements and weight, as well as their comparison with the required values, makes it possible to reveal and, at the same time, eliminate many deficiencies in the breeding of heifers that will form the future production herd.
Copyright (c) 2023 Adrián Halvoník, Monika Chalúpková, Peter Chudej, Radovan Kasarda, Nina Moravčíková
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