IMPORTANCE OF MONITORING CALVING TO DECREASE STILLBIRTH RATE IN HOLSTEIN-FRIESIAN DAIRY FARMS
The successful genetic selection for higher milk production caused a dramatic decline in the reproductive performance of dairy cows all over the world during the last decades. Achievement of optimum herd reproductive performance (calving interval of 12 or 13 months with the first calf born at 24 months of age) requires concentrated management activities especially during calving and during the first 100 days following calving. The following management activities are needed to pursue during the early postpartum period to reach or approach the optimal reproductive performance such as careful surveillance and assistance at calving, prevention of post parturient metabolic diseases, early diagnosis and treatment of post parturient uterine diseases, accurate detection of oestrus, correct timing of insemination, reducing the effect of heat stress and early pregnancy diagnosis. Among these main activities only careful surveillance and assistance at calving and their effects on milk production, reproductive performance as well as on newborn calves are discussed. Due to the fact that the cause of stillbirth with a non-infectious aetiology is likely to be multifactorial and difficult calving may explain only about half of them therefore it is very important to examine the risk factors of stillbirth especially in large-scale dairy farms.
Key words: dairy cow, eutocia, dystocia, stillbirth, obstetrical assistance