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Factors affecting the milk urea nitrogen concentration in Chinese Holstein cows

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In order to investigate the factors affecting milk urea nitrogen in Chinese Holstein cows, a large commercial dairy farm participated in a 30-month study. In this study, the mean milk urea nitrogen concentration was 11.75 mg/dl. The milk urea nitrogen reached its maximum value on day 90 of lactation for the first parity and the third or higher parities, but it peaked at the end of lactation for the second parity. The milk urea nitrogen of the first parity was lower than that of other parities. The milk urea nitrogen showed its minimum level in January, and reached its maximum in July. The milk urea nitrogen at the first month of lactation in cows calving in summer was higher than other seasons, while at the fourth month of lactation, the milk urea nitrogen of cows calving in autumn was significantly lower than in cows calving in other seasons. Positive correlations were observed between daily milk yield, net energy for lactation, crude protein and milk urea nitrogen for the first and third parities, but negative correlations were observed in the second parity. The milk urea nitrogen showed significantly positive correlations with fat content, total solid content and daily matter intake for all parities. A negative correlation was observed between milk urea nitrogen and protein content, with the exception of the second parity. For all data, as milk urea nitrogen concentration increased, milk protein content decreased. It has been recommended that milk urea nitrogen concentration should be evaluated in combination with parity, days in milk, season (or month), daily matter intake and dietary nutritional components, in order to improve the management and economic benefits of dairy farm.

Affiliations: 1: 1College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China ; 2: 2Institute of Agricultural Products Processing, Ningbo Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Ningbo 315040, China ; 3: 3Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, N1G 2W1, Canada

*Corresponding author; e-mail:

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