Effects of herd size and bedding surfaces on milk yield and some health problems in dairy cow farms

  • Nurcan Karslioglu Kara
  • Askin Galic akdeniz university
Keywords: Dairy herd, herd size, bedding type, milk yield, cow health.


Dairy farms around the world have undergone some changes over the years. One of these changes was the size of the herd, although its scale varied from country to country. Various factors such as cost, profitability and ease of solving possible problems are taken into consideration while deciding on the size of the herd in the planning phase of the investment. This study was carried out to determine the effect of herd size and use of different bedding materials on health and milk yield in Turkish dairy herds.
A total of 44 dairy farms were used in the study, and all of them were free stall. Farms were grouped into three herd size categories; small (with less than 30 cows), medium (30 to 50 cows) and large (with more than 50 cows). 305-day milk yield data were collected at the end of lactation period from the database of Cattle Breeders’ Association of Bursa/Turkey. While health data (about dystocia, retained placenta, clinical mastitis and repeat breeding) were collected from the herd records, locomotion scoring was done by the researchers. The effects of herd size on repeat breeding, locomotion score, mastitis and milk yield were found significant.
Bedding materials were examined in three different types (rubber, sand or without bedding-concrete surface) and their effects on repeat breeding, locomotion score, mastitis and 305-day milk yield were also found significant. The large size herds had higher milk yield (6993.24 ± 72.52 L) and better herd health than small and medium-size herds except for the repeat breeding and also, milk yield (7235.60 ± 110.94 L) and herd health were better in herds that used rubber bedding than concrete and sand except for the repeat breeding and dystocia. Consequently, herd health and milk yield were significantly affected by herd size and the bedding material that was used.

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