Reproduction and milk yield of Holstein cows in the US Virgin Islands as influenced by time of year and coat color

  • Robert W. Godfrey Agricultural Experiment Station, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix
  • Peter J. Hansen Animal Science Department, University of Florida
Keywords: Dairy cows, lactation, reproduction, environment, tropics, coat color

Abstract

Records of 520 Holstein cows, over a period of 27 years, on the Caribbean island of St. Croix, were analyzed to determine the influence of season and hair coat color on reproduction and lactation. Calving intervals were longest (P<.05) for cows that calved during January through April (warm, dry season; 527±8 d) and decreased as month of the year progressed (P<.0001), so that shortest calving intervals were experienced by cows calving during October through December (warm, wet season; 468±7 d). Cows that began lactating in June through September (hot, dry season; 4643±81 kg) produced less (P<.05) milk than cows that began in October through December (5070±73 kg). The distribution of calvings exhibited seasonal pattern (P<.002) with most births (52%) occurring during October through January. The population was skewed toward darker cows with a mean percentage black hair coat of 74.1 (±19.7). Calving interval was not increased and milk yield was not reduced in cows with predominately black coat (P<.10). These data indicate that Holstein cows in a Caribbean climate exhibit seasonal patterns of reproduction and milk yield that are most likely related to forage availability, which in turn is related to rainfall and temperature. Hair coat color did not influence milk yield or reproduction, and is of minimal consequence in this semi-arid, tropical environment.

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Author Biographies

Robert W. Godfrey , Agricultural Experiment Station, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix

Agricultural Experiment Station, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix, USVI 00850

Peter J. Hansen , Animal Science Department, University of Florida

His formal education was at the University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin.  He received postdoctoral training in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Florida and spent a sabbatical leave at the University of Guelph.

References

NA
Published
1996-06-30
How to Cite
Godfrey , Robert W., and Peter J. Hansen. 1996. “Reproduction and Milk Yield of Holstein Cows in the US Virgin Islands As Influenced by Time of Year and Coat Color”. Latin American Archives of Animal Production 4 (1), 31-44. https://ojs.alpa.uy/index.php/ojs_files/article/view/2933.
Section
Original paper