Improving health and welfare of dairy cattle by synchronizing and optimizing the transition period

PI: Laura Hernandez


Hernandez is a professor of animal and dairy sciences at UW–Madison specializing in lactation physiology. The overall goal of her research is to understand how autocrine/paracrine factors in the mammary gland regulate mammary gland development, as well as milk synthesis and secretion.

Postdoc: Pedro Monteiro (pictured above) is a postdoctoral researcher in animal and dairy sciences with a focus on lactation biology at UW–Madison. He is a veterinarian by training with experience in reproduction research, dairy cattle management and has direct experience in the dairy industry.

Calving and transition to lactation increases susceptibility to and incidence of disease in the dairy cow. In dairy and beef farms, calvings occur in a wide range before and after the due date, making calving management a labor-intensive process with monitoring required around the clock. Two types of methods have been used to induce synchronized calving, however, cows that were induced by either method had high incidence of retained placenta. This research will focus on developing a synchronized calving strategy that optimizes the calving management process and the subsequent health and productivity of the lactating cow and her calf. Specifically, how farmers can improve their ability to manage postpartum calcium status and improve reproductive health. This research will be conducted with guidance from Laura Hernandez, associate professor in the animal and dairy sciences department.

João Dorea