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Periparturient Climatic, Animal and Management Factors Influencing the Incidence of Milk Fever in Grazing Systems

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 18:20 authored by Roche, JR, Berry, DP
The objective of the present study was to quantify the climatic, animal, and management factors influencing incidence of milk fever (MF) in cows exposed to grazing systems. Data were extracted on 4,469 calvings of multiparous cows in a seasonal calving research herd between 1970 and 2000. Climatic data during the calving period also were extracted for these years. Poisson regression was used to investigate the effect of climate on frequency of MF within year; the offset variable was the number of cows at risk for MF at that time. Generalized estimating equations, with cow included as a repeated effect, were used to quantify the effect of parturition-associated cow and management factors on the logit of the probability of MF. Both univariate and multivariate analyses were performed. Explanatory variables investigated included time of calving relative to the herd-year calving period, parity, body weight, breed of cow, body condition score at calving, weight and gender of the calf, incidence of twin calves, calving inductions, and calving assistance. Odds of recurring MF within cow, as well as the timing of MF relative to day of calving, was quantified using generalized estimating equations with cow included as a repeated effect. Results show significant effects of evaporation, minimum grass temperature, difference between ambient maximum and minimum temperature, and rainfall on the odds of MF occurring, with a greater incidence at greater evaporation, larger diurnal variation in air temperature, greater rainfall, and lesser grass minimum temperature. Cow factors, such as age, excessive or poor body condition score, and requirement for calving assistance increased the odds of MF; a lesser odds ratio was observed in cows hormonally induced to calve and those that had twin births. Results indicate that herd managers may identify the day of greatest risk for MF and cows that are at greatest risk of MF based on climatic, cow, and management factors. © American Dairy Science Association, 2006.


Publication title

Journal of Dairy Science










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


American Dairy Science Association

Place of publication

United States

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Dairy cattle

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