Nutrition and reproduction disorders in cattle

In dairy cows, an abrupt increase in milk production after calving imposes high metabolic and thus nutritional requirements on the cow. When dry matter intake does not meet increased energy requirements, a status of negative energy balance (NEB) develops.

The consequences of NEB and high metabolic rates on reproduction

The consequences of negative energy balance and high metabolic rates on reproduction in dairy cows
Metabolic profileMetabolic and high level functional changesEndocrine changesFunctional changes
Negative Energy Balance Impaired synthesis and secretion GnRH and LH
  • anoestrus
  • poor follicular growth and estrogenic capacity
  • delayed LH peak and ovulation
  • poor oestrus demonstration
  • poor quality of oocyte
  • increased early embryonic mortality
Emergency energy production from adipose tissue and proteins
  • increased levels of triacylglycerols in circulation (impaired liver function)
  • increased levels of urea in circulation
  • impaired immune function of endometrium and increased susceptibility to uterine infections
  • uterine environment less favourable for the embryo
Increased Metabolic Rates Increased metabolism of oestradiol and progesterone in the liver
  • decreased levels of oestradiol in general circulation
  • decreased level of progesterone in general circulation

  • poor oestrus demonstration
  • delayed LH peak and ovulation
  • Early Embryonic Mortality

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Click on the thumbnail sketch for information on: Association of lactation and energy demands of the post partum dairy cow

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Click on the thumbnail sketch for information on: Associations between negative energy balance and some endocrine and immune functions in dairy cows

cow and calffeeding cows feeding dairy cows

After calving an abrupt increase in milk production imposes high metabolic and thus nutritional requirements on the cow.