This study aimed to determine values for selected energy metabolites (non-esterified fatty acid [NEFA], β-hydroxybutyrate [BHB], urea or urea:BHB ratio), together with a body condition score, associated with an increased risk of cows developing a reproductive disorder and to investigate temporal relationships between predictors and reproductive outcome. A cohort of 98 cows on one farm was monitored weekly from four weeks before to 10 weeks after calving; 89 cows provided sufficient data to calculate commencement of luteal activity (C-LA). Cows with high NEFA × urea (Nu; product of NEFA and urea) values one and three weeks after calving were twice as likely to develop cystic ovarian disease (risk ratio 2). Cows that developed endometritis had high NEFA values one (P=0.02) or four weeks (P=0.04) before calving, or low urea:BHB ratios two weeks before calving, at calving or three weeks after calving (P=0.024, P=0.031 and P=0.001, respectively). Cows that had delayed C-LA had high NEFA values one week after calving (P=0.05) or low urea:BHB ratios three or four weeks after calving (P=0.004 and P=0.003, respectively).
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Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed