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Economics of Twin Pregnancies in Dairy Cattle

Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA
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Academic Editor: Irina Garcia Ispierto
Animals 2021, 11(2), 552; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020552
Received: 20 January 2021 / Revised: 11 February 2021 / Accepted: 13 February 2021 / Published: 20 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutics of Twin Pregnancies in Dairy Cattle)
Twinning in dairy cattle is not desirable due to negative effects on both cows that calve twins and calves born as twins that result in economic losses to dairy farms. Although a twin pregnancy could bring additional income from extra calves and it could shorten gestation length, twinning compromises milk production, increases the incidence of dystocia and perinatal mortality, decreases calf birth weight, increases the incidence of metabolic diseases, decreases fertility, increases the incidence of freemartinism, increases overall culling risks, and shortens the productive lifespan of cows. Based on a summary of economic analyses from several studies, the estimated losses due to twinning range between $59 to $161 per twin pregnancy. When twins are diagnosed early during gestation, management options might include doing nothing, terminating the pregnancy, or attempting manual embryo reduction. Based on a recent economic analysis of these options, attempting manual embryo reduction decreased the economic losses of a twin pregnancy by $23 to $45.
Twinning in Holstein dairy cows has increased over time concurrent with increased milk production. Twinning in dairy cattle is not desirable due to the negative effects on both cows that calve twins and calves born as twins that result in economic losses to dairy farms. Although a twin pregnancy could bring additional income from extra calves and shorten gestation length, twinning compromises milk production, increases the incidence of dystocia and perinatal mortality, decreases calf birth weight, increases the incidence of metabolic diseases, decreases fertility, increases the incidence of freemartinism, increases overall culling risks, and shortens the productive lifespan of cows. Based on a summary of economic analyses from several studies, the estimated losses due to twinning range between $59 to $161 per twin pregnancy. Most twinning in dairy cows is dizygotic and directly related to the incidence of double ovulations, and economic losses are greater for unilateral than for bilateral twins. Hormonal manipulation before artificial insemination that allows for timed artificial insemination is a primary strategy for decreasing twinning in dairy cows before it occurs by decreasing the incidence of double ovulation thereby decreasing conception of dizygotic twins and the associated negative economic consequences. When twins are diagnosed early during gestation, management options might include doing nothing, terminating the pregnancy, or attempting manual embryo reduction. Based on a recent economic analysis of these options, attempting manual embryo reduction decreased the economic losses of a twin pregnancy by $23 to $45. View Full-Text
Keywords: twinning; dairy cows; economics twinning; dairy cows; economics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cabrera, V.E.; Fricke, P.M. Economics of Twin Pregnancies in Dairy Cattle. Animals 2021, 11, 552. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020552

AMA Style

Cabrera VE, Fricke PM. Economics of Twin Pregnancies in Dairy Cattle. Animals. 2021; 11(2):552. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020552

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cabrera, Victor E., and Paul M. Fricke. 2021. "Economics of Twin Pregnancies in Dairy Cattle" Animals 11, no. 2: 552. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020552

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