The effect of growth and development intensity in replacement heifers on economically important traits of Holstein cattle in the Czech Republic
J. Bouška, M. Štípková, M. Krejčová, L. Bartoňhttps://doi.org/10.17221/2263-CJASCitation:Bouška J., Štípková M., Krejčová M., Bartoň L. (2007): The effect of growth and development intensity in replacement heifers on economically important traits of Holstein cattle in the Czech Republic. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 52: 277-283.
The objective of the study was to determine the effect of growth and development intensity in Holstein replacement heifers on economically important animal traits. The intensity of growth was assessed by the average live weight gain until 14 months of age. In addition, live weight and height at the sacrum at 14 months of age were analysed as indicators of growth and development when evaluating the length of productive life. The milk yield of first-calvers increased as the average daily live weight gain in the rearing period increased. An opposite tendency was recorded for cows in their second and third lactation and the total production also decreased with a higher growth rate of heifers. The analysis of the relationship between growth rate and the following reproduction traits revealed that the increased average daily live weight gain to 14 months was subsequently associated with reduced reproduction efficiency in cows. The differences between the groups with the lowest and the highest average live weight gains in the number of days open in the first and second calving interval were 26.78 and 17.47 days, respectively. This tendency was also confirmed in the other reproduction traits analysed. Productive life was significantly longer in animals with the lowest intensity of growth and development compared to the other groups (2.17 to 5.49 months, P < 0.01).Keywords:Heifer; intensity of growth and development; average daily live weight gain; milk yield; reproduction; Holstein cattle