Milking of cows in late pregnancy: milk production during this period and during the succeeding lactation

J Dairy Res. 1992 Aug;59(3):233-41. doi: 10.1017/s002202990003051x.


Fifteen lactating cows were milked throughout pregnancy, and the effects on milk performance were studied during this period and during the succeeding lactation, relative to 11 conventionally managed cows (2 months dry before calving) as controls. During the last 2 months of pregnancy, only nine cows did not dry off spontaneously. Protein and fat concentrations in milk increased rapidly, but the concentration of lactose, corrected for milk yield, did not change. The ratios of individual caseins to total protein decreased with the quantity of milk produced, but only for yields below approximately 6 kg/d. The relative proportion of kappa-casein tended to decrease in the last milkings. During the succeeding lactation (first 15 weeks after calving and first 6 weeks of grazing) continuously milked cows yielded 4 kg milk/d less than the cows of the other group. The protein content of their milk was higher (2-3 g/kg depending on the period) than that of the control group, and the lactose content tended (P less than 0.10) to be lower. Changes in the relative proportions of nitrogenous fractions with time were not different in the two groups. Differences between the two groups in the concentration of protein in milk, and in the concentration of glucose and non-esterified fatty acids in the plasma, suggest a better energy balance for the continuously milked cows during the succeeding lactation.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Caseins / analysis
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Female
  • Lactation / physiology*
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal / physiology*


  • Caseins
  • Lipids
  • Milk Proteins
  • Nitrogen