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Effects of month of kidding, parity number, and litter size on milk yield of commercial dairy goats in Australia
- Zamuner, F., DiGiacomo, K., Cameron, A.W.N., Leury, B.J.
- Journal of dairy science 2020 v.103 no.1 pp. 954-964
- Saanen, dairy goats, early lactation, herds, kidding, late lactation, litter size, milk, milk fat, milk proteins, milk yield, observational studies, parity (reproduction), somatic cell count, Australia
- The aim of this observational study was to identify the influence of key nongenetic factors such as month of kidding, parity, and litter size on milk yield and composition of Australian dairy goats throughout lactation. The study was conducted over 4 consecutive kidding seasons from June 2016 to March 2017. Data from 940 lactations of Saanen goats from a commercial herd were used to observe the effects of month of kidding, parity number, and litter size on total milk yield (L/goat) in early lactation (kidding to 90 d in milk; DIM), mid lactation (91–180 DIM), and late lactation (181–270 DIM), cumulative milk yield (from kidding to 270 DIM; CMY), average lactation length, proportion (%) of does reaching their target lactation length (270 DIM), somatic cell count (SCC), and percentages of milk fat and protein in early lactation. The mean herd responses throughout the entire study were as follows: CMY = 519 L/goat; lactation length = 233 d, with 70% of does reaching 270 DIM; milk fat = 4.2%; milk protein = 2.9%; and SCC = 6.2 × 10⁵ cells/mL. Average milk production peaked in February and was lowest in June (2.4 vs. 1.8 L/goat per day, respectively). Milk yield was affected by month of kidding, parity number, and litter size in all phases of lactation. November kidders had the greatest CMY, and March kidders had the lowest CMY. March kidders had the shortest lactation length and the lowest proportion of does reaching 270 DIM. June kidders had the longest lactation length, whereas September kidders had the highest proportion of does reaching 270 DIM. Maximum milk yield was attained in third parity. Goats in fourth or greater parity had the shortest lactation length, the lowest proportion of does reaching 270 DIM, and the highest SCC. Goats delivering single kids had lower CMY, lower SCC, and higher percentages of fat and protein than does delivering multiple kids. Our findings indicate that milk yield was primarily influenced by month of kidding, and the effects of month of kidding on milk yield were accentuated during mid lactation. However, the effects of month of kidding on milk yield varied significantly among parities.