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Lactation curve model with explicit representation of perturbations as a phenotyping tool for dairy livestock precision farming

Abstract : In the context of dairy farming, ruminant females often face challenges inducing perturbations that affect their performance and welfare. A key issue is how to assess the effect of perturbations and provide metrics to quantify how animals cope with their environment. Milk production dynamics are good candidates to address this issue: i) they are easily accessible, ii) overall dynamics throughout lactation process are well described and iii) perturbations are visible through milk losses. In this study, a perturbed lactation model (PLM) with explicit representation of perturbations was developed. The model combines two components: i) the unperturbed lactation model that describes a theoretical lactation curve, assumed to reflect female production potential and ii) the perturbation model that describes all the deviations from the unperturbed lactation model with four parameters: starting date, intensity and shape (collapse and recovery). To illustrate the use of the PLM as a phenotyping tool, it was fitted on a data set of 319 complete lactations from 181 individual dairy goats. A total of 2 354 perturbations were detected, with an average of 7.40 perturbations per lactation. Loss of milk production for the whole lactation due to perturbations varied between 2 and 19% of the milk production predicted by the unperturbed lactation model. The number of perturbations was not the major factor explaining the loss of milk production, suggesting that there are different types of animal response to challenges. By incorporating explicit representation of perturbations in a lactation model, it was possible to determine for each female the potential milk production, characteristics of each perturbation and milk losses induced by perturbations. Further, it was possible to compare animals and analyze individual variability. The indicators produced by the PLM are likely to be useful to move from raw data to decision support tools in dairy production.
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Contributor : Emilie Bernard <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 2:58:43 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, July 31, 2021 - 3:57:15 AM


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A. Ben Abdelkrim, Laurence Puillet, P. Gomes, O. Martin. Lactation curve model with explicit representation of perturbations as a phenotyping tool for dairy livestock precision farming. animal, Published by Elsevier (since 2021) / Cambridge University Press (until 2020), 2021, 15 (1), pp.100074. ⟨10.1016/j.animal.2020.100074⟩. ⟨hal-03190700⟩



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