The skinfold thickness and its association with body condition score and milk production traits in Holstein Friesian cows

Constantin Gavan


A series of succesive skinfold measuraments over the neck and the last rib of dairy cows were made in the Holstein Friesian herd at Agriculture Resarch and Development Station (ARDS) Șimnic-Craiova, România. In the summer of 2017 and 2018, skinfold thicknesses over the neck (STN) and the last rib (STR), body condition scores (BCS) and test-day records of milk production traits were available from 127 lactating cows. We then estimated the heritability of skinfold thickness and its association with BCS, milk yield, milk fat percentage and milk protein percentage in dairy cows. The heritability of skinfold was 0.15 for STN and 0.30 for STR. Genetic correlation between skinfold thickness and BCS were low to moderate and with milk production traits were very low (0.02 to 0.1). Skinfold thickness was sensitive to changes in body condition across parity and lactation stage in dairy cows. The use of skinfold thickness and BCS is beneficial to monitor changes in body fat deposition with increasing days in milk of the cows. This results could facilitate further exploration in the use of skinfold thickness for management precision in dairy cattle.      


skinfold thickness, heritability, genetic correlation, body condition score.

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