Macciotta, Nicolò Pietro Paolo and Vicario, Daniele and Dimauro, Corrado and Cappio Borlino, Aldo (2004) A Multivariate approach to modeling shapes of individual Lactation Curves in Cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 87 (4), p. 1092-1098. eISSN 1525-3198. Article.
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Milk test-day records of 5728 lactations of Italian Simmental cows were analyzed with multivariate factor analysis in order to extract 2 common factors, whose scores were used as quantitative measures of 2 main features of lactation curve shape—i.e., the increasing rate of yield in the first part of lactation and the rate of decline of milk yield after the lactation peak. The 2 indices, objectively derived from the correlation matrix of original test-day records, showed a high discriminant power in separating lactation curves with different shapes. The weak correlation between the 2 factors (0.11), together with the high correlation of factors and the total 305-d yield (about 0.70), suggests that an increase in lactation yield could be achieved by acting only on one of the 2 factors related to lactation-curve shape, with the other kept constant at a medium or low value. The suitability of the 2 factors as descriptors of lactation patterns has been confirmed by the relationships found between factor scores and the main environmental effects known to affect the shape of the lactation curve, such as parity and season of calving.
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