Relationship of milk urea nitrogen and DHI production variables in western commerical dairy herds

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

J. Dairy Sci.





Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



A retrospective observational study was conducted using data from Dairy Herd Improvement monthly tests to investigate the association between milk urea nitrogen (MUN) concentration and milk yield, milk protein, milk fat percentage, SCC, and parity for commercial Holsteinand Jersey herds in Utah, Idaho, and Montana. Mean MUN for Holstein cows was 15.5 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/L) MUN and 14.1 mg/dl (5.0 mmol/L) for Jersey cows. Mean MUN, categorized by 30-d increments of days in milk (DIM), paralleled changes in milk values and followed a curvilinear shape. For Holstein cows, concentrations of MUN were different among lactation groups 1, 2, and 3+ for the first 90 DIM for Holsteins. Overall, concentrations of MUN were lower during for the first 30 DIM compared with all other DIM categories for both Holstein and Jersey cows. Multivariate regression models of MUN by milk protein showed that as the milk protein percentage increased, MUN concentration decreased; however, models for Jersey cows showed that MUN did not decrease significantly until above 3.4% milk protein. Milk fat percentage also decreased as MUN increased, but by only 1 mg/dl MUN over the range of 2.2 to 5.8% milk fat. Somatic cell countshowed a negative relationship with MUN. Holstein cows with milk protein percentage >3.2% had lower MUN compared with cows having milk protein