Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 149–154 | Cite as

Milk yield did not decrease in large herds of high-producing Holstein cows in semi-arid climate of Mexico

  • Ilda G. FernándezEmail author
  • Raúl Ulloa-Arvizu
  • Jorge Fernández
Regular Articles


This study aimed to determine the trends in milk production, fertility, temperature-humidity index (THI), and herd size in dairy herds from the Laguna region in northern Mexico. Records of 16 dairy herds of Holstein cows from January 2002 to December 2016 were used. Milk production was categorized in low and high levels. Milk production and fertility were analyzed using generalized equation estimation procedures by a model of repeated measures that included the effect of year, month, and productive level, an interaction for month × productive level, and herd effect was nested in productive level. For THI, a generalized linear model that included the effects of year and month was used. Dairy herds with high levels of milk production yielded more milk than those with low levels (P < 0.001). Milk production in 2002 and 2016 was 27.4 ± 0.6 and 32.3 ± 0.7 L/cow/day, respectively. Fertility fluctuated throughout the study. Dairy herds with high levels of milk production recorded higher fertility than those with low levels (P < 0.001). From October to April, THI was < 70, whereas it was > 73 from May to September, indicating that cows were in heat stress (20 h/day). The median herd size was 995 and 2569 cows in 2002 and 2016, respectively. In conclusion, in large herds, milk production increased over the years of study, whereas fertility showed a wave cycle; nonetheless, when THI was > 73, both milk production and fertility decreased.


Dairy cattle Milk secretion Heat stress Temperature-humidity index Reproductive performance 



The authors are grateful to data managers at farms for collecting records. We thank Catalina Fernández for their administrative support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Statement of animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Posgrado en Ciencias AgrariasUniversidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio NarroTorreónMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de Genética y Bioestadística, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y ZootecniaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico CityMexico
  3. 3.Asociación de Médicos Veterinarios Especialistas en Bovinos de la Comarca LaguneraDurangoMexico

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