The impact of hair coat color on longevity of Holstein cows in the tropics

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Background: Over two decades of observations in the field in South East Asia and Hawai‘i suggest that majority of the commercial dairy herds are of black hair coat. Hence a simple study to determine the accuracy of the observation was conducted with two large dairy herds in Hawaii in the mid-1990s. Methods: A retrospective study on longevity of Holstein cattle in the tropics was conducted using DairyComp-305 lactation information coupled with phenotypic evaluation of hair coat color in two large dairy farms. Cows were classified into 3 groups: a) black (B, >90%); b) black/white (BW, 50:50) and c) white (W, >90%). Cows with other hair coat distribution were excluded from the study. In farm A, 211 out of 970 cows were identified having 4 or more lactations. In farm B, 690 out of 1,350 cows were identified with 2 or more lactations for the study. Results: The regression analyses and the Wilcoxon-Log-rank test for survival probability showed that Holstein cattle with 90% black hair coat had greater longevity compared to Holstein cattle with 90% white hair coat. Conclusions: This study suggests that longevity of Holstein cattle in tropical regions was influenced by hair coat color and characteristics.




Lee, C. N., Baek, K. S., & Parkhurst, A. (2016). The impact of hair coat color on longevity of Holstein cows in the tropics. Journal of Animal Science and Technology, 58.

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