Effect of Time of Initiating Dietary Fat Supplementation on Performance and Reproduction of Early Lactation Dairy Cows

  • Son, J. (Cell Biology & Human Anatomy Dept, University of California-Davis) ;
  • Larson, L.L. (Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska) ;
  • Grant, R.J. (Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska)
  • Received : 1999.04.07
  • Accepted : 1999.06.07
  • Published : 2000.02.01


Forty-two Holstein cows (21 multiparous) were assigned by calving date and parity to three dietary sequences to evaluate the effect of time of initiating fat supplementation to diets on lactation and reproductive performance. The dietary sequences were: 1) control, no supplemental fat from 1 to 98 days in milk (DIM) ; 2) control diet from 1 to 28 DIM then 3% supplemental fat (calcium salts of long-chain fatty acids) from 29 to 98 DIM; or 3) 3% supplemental fat from 1 to 98 DIM. Feeding supplemental fat did not enhance mean milk and 4% fat corrected milk (FCM) yields, but efficiency of FCM production was higher for cows fed supplemental fat. Milk fat percentage was unchanged whereas milk protein percentage was depressed with fat supplementation. Feeding supplemental fat reduced DMI and energy balance but there were no differences among treatments on time to resumption of ovarian cyclicity or conception rate to first service. Concentrations of progesterone during the first two ovulatory cycles tended to be greater in the fat-supplemented groups. Feeding supplemental fat starting at either parturition or 29 DIM increased efficiency of FCM production, but did not greatly enhance reproductive performance.

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