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The dairy herd management as a basis for prevention of high productive diseases

The article presents the results of the management and monitoring of the health status of dairy cows and newborn calves of the Holstein breed by the veterinary medicine doctor of the UCRA, which is a unit of the Lyon Veterinary School, VetAgro Sup (Lyon, France).

In many countries in Western Europe and America, the assessment of cows’ health is carried out in accordance with "signals", analyzing which can be timely allocated in a herd the sick cows, which will subsequently enable timely treatment, eliminate the causes and concomitant factors of disease development and, thus, prevent them from spreading. The programs for controlling the herd health and milk production represent the first level that optimizes the productivity of dairy farms. The further deepening of this issue should include the stages of observing the health and animals’ welfare, and also the food safety and health issues.

In countries of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, the method for assessing the cows’ health is only beginning to be implemented, since in post-Soviet space there is a widespread diagnosis based on several other principles and indicators, which does not always have the desired final result.

The work was carried out on the basis of the minifarm for the milk production of dairy cattle in the suburbs of Lyon, France on Holstein cows and newborn calves. In order to assess the health status of dairy cows, the productivity, lactation period, calving date, general, body score and hair condition, hoof, rumen filling, feces consistency and some milk parameters (number of somatic cells, fat and protein content, their ratio, concentration of urea) were considered. In addition, the ration’s structure by the Pennsylvanian test was evaluated.

The assessment of the state of cows’ health on the farm the veterinary doctor carry out by once a month according to the specially developed form that already contains the results on animal productivity, lactation period, calving dates, and also indicators of milk quality – the number of somatic cells, the content of fat and protein, their ratio and concentration of urea. Milk data is provided to the doctor by a private company that cooperates with a farmer according the agreement concluded between them. That is, before coming to the farm, the veterinarian, after analyzing the information provided to him, already has some idea of the cows’ health and can identify animals at risk, which need to pay particular attention.

At the farm, the doctor, in accordance with the available protocol, assesses the ration’s condition and it structure. Using the method of feeds’ separation, the disorders of the ration’s structure were detected – the first layer was 16 %, the second – 39 and the third – 45 %, indicating a violation of the process of feed preparation, which leads to ineffective consumption of feed, and in the future – to digestive and metabolic diseases.

It was established that in the cows of the main herd (more than 150 days of lactation) the productivity was high (14,4–43,2; 28,6±1,5 kg), but the level of milk urea was low (17 mg/100 ml), the indexes of fat, protein, their ratio and somatic cells are satisfactory. Only 2 cows revealed a high content of somatic cells (661 and 709 thousand/cm3), and in 2 more, these indicators were elevated (411 thousand/cm3), indicating the developing of chronic infectious process in the mammary gland. One cow from this group had the clinical mastitis and did not milk.

In cows group, until the 150th day of lactation, sufficient productivity was noted (30.2±1.5 kg), the urea level was normal (25 mg/100 ml). In general, the group noted low levels of milk protein (2.60–3.38; 3.15±0.068 %), the fat level was satisfactory (3.59–4.62; 4.12±0.114 %), the fat/protein ratio just in 2 cows was high (1.44 and 1.64:1), the number of somatic cells was slightly increased in 1 cow (366 thousand/cm3).

It was established that the body score condition (BSC) in cows to the calving was satisfactory (3.5–4 points), and after calving – decreased, indicating the development of negative energy balance. The hair condition and the degree of rumen filling are satisfactory (2.5–4 points), the feces consistency is sparse, sometimes it indicates an increase the content of undigested impurities, the hooves needed to be trimmed, in some cows noted the presence of laminitis and pododermatite. At the end of lactation and during the early dry period the cows BSC was too high (4.5–5 points). Several animals had a long lactation period (363–513 days).

According to the results of herd evaluation the veterinarian has founded 1 cow with mastitis, 2 – with signs of diarrhea and 1 calf with coronaviral diarrhea, 1 with pneumonia.

The above indicators monitoring make possible to comprehensively assess the dairy herd health status: the quantitative and qualitative indicators were satisfactory, the nitrogen providing is fully controlled, the level of somatic cells in milk is sufficient, but there are several chronically infected animals in the herd and noted the low reproductive ability.

Key words: cows, herd management, lactation, dairy herd, milk, fat, protein, urea, reproduction, health status, feeding.

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