The Effect of Body Energy Reserve Mobilization on the Fatty Acid Profile of Milk in High-yielding Cows

  • Nogalski, Zenon ;
  • Wronski, Marek ;
  • Sobczuk-Szul, Monika ;
  • Mochol, Magdalena ;
  • Pogorzelska, Paulina
  • Received : 2012.05.20
  • Accepted : 2012.08.07
  • Published : 2012.12.01


We investigated the effect of the amount of body condition loss in the dry period and early lactation in 42 high-yielding Holstein-Friesian cows on milk yield and the share of fatty acids in milk fat. Energy reserves were estimated based on the body condition scoring (BCS) and backfat thickness (BFT). Milk yield and milk composition were determined over 305-d lactation. From d 6 to 60 of lactation, the concentrations of 43 fatty acids in milk fat were determined by gas chromatography. Cows were categorized based on body condition loss from the beginning of the dry period to the lowest point of the BCS curve in early lactation into three groups: low condition loss group (L) ${\leq}0.5$ points (n = 14); moderate condition loss group (M) 0.75 to 1.0 points (n = 16) and high condition loss group (H) >1.0 points (n = 12). Cows whose body energy reserves were mobilized at 0.8 BCS and 11 mm BFT, produced 12,987 kg ECM over 305-d lactation, i.e. 1,429 kg ECM more than cows whose BCS and BFT decreased by 0.3 and 5 mm, respectively. In group H, milk yield reached 12,818 kg ECM at body fat reserve mobilization of 1.3 BCS and 17 mm BFT. High mobilization of body fat reserves led to a significant (approx. 5%) increase in the concentrations of monounsaturated fatty acids-MUFA (mostly $C_{18:1}$ cis-9, followed by $C_{18:1}$ trans-11), a significant decrease in the levels of fatty acids adversely affecting human health, and a drop in the content of linoleic acid, arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in milk fat. In successive weeks of lactation, an improved energy balance contributed to a decrease in the concentrations of unsaturated fatty acids (UFA) and an increase in the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content of milk fat.


Dairy Cows;Body Condition Loss;Backfat Thickness;Oleic Acid;CLA


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