Research-Article| Volume 65, ISSUE 3, P495-501, March 1982

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A Dairy Cow Body Condition Scoring System and Its Relationship to Selected Production Characteristics

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      A scoring system with 1 to 5 scale was devised to measure body condition of dairy cows at any point during the lactation cycle. Cows were scored on appearance and palpation of back and hind quarters only. Relationships of body weight, frame size measurements, milk production, and characteristics related to the body condition scoring system were determined. During 18 mo, 28 cows in each of 29 dairy herds were used for body measurements and body condition scores. Data were obtained from each herd at 3-mo intervals. Body weight and frame size measurements could not be correlated with body condition score. Dairy cows of greatest efficiency of milk production showed no significant increase in body condition during lactation, had fewer days open, but had lower persistency of lactation. Dairy cows that increased significantly in body condition during lactation were less efficient producers, had a greater number of days open, and had high body condition scores at the end of lactation. The body condition scoring system is a means of accurately determining body condition of dairy cows, independent of body weight and frame size.


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