Genetic parameter estimation for milk β-hydroxybutyrate and acetone in early lactation and its association with fat to protein ratio and energy balance in Korean Holstein cattle

  • Ranaraja, Umanthi (Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Cho, KwangHyun (National Institute of Animal Science, RDA) ;
  • Park, MiNa (National Institute of Animal Science, RDA) ;
  • Kim, SiDong (National Institute of Animal Science, RDA) ;
  • Lee, SeokHyun (Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Do, ChangHee (Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University)
  • Received : 2017.06.12
  • Accepted : 2018.01.10
  • Published : 2018.06.01


Objective: The objective of this study was to estimate the genetic parameters for milk ${\beta}$-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), acetone (Ac), fat protein ratio (FPR), and energy balance (EB) using milk test day records and investigate the effect of early lactation FPR and EB on milk ketone body concentrations. Methods: Total 262,940 test-day records collected from Korea Animal Improvement Association during the period of 2012 to 2016 were used in this study. BHBA and Ac concentrations in milk were measured by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). FPR values were obtained using test day records of fat and protein percentage. EB was calculated using previously developed equation based on parity, lactation week, and milk composition data. Genetic parameters were estimated by restricted maximum likelihood procedure based on repeatability model using Wombat program. Results: Elevated milk BHBA and Ac concentrations were observed during the early lactation under the negative energy balance. Milk FPR tends to decrease with the decreasing ketone body concentrations. Heritability estimates for milk BHBA, Ac, EB, and FPR ranged from 0.09 to 0.14, 0.23 to 0.31, 0.19 to 0.52, and 0.16 to 0.42 respectively at parity 1, 2, 3, and 4. The overall heritability for BHBA, Ac, EB and FPR were 0.29, 0.32, 0.58, and 0.38 respectively. A common pattern was observed in heritability of EB and FPR along with parities. Conclusion: FPR and EB can be suggested as potential predictors for risk of hyperketonemia. The heritability estimates of milk BHBA, Ac, EB, and FPR indicate that the selective breeding may contribute to maintaining the milk ketone bodies at optimum level during early lactation.


Supported by : Rural Development Administration


  1. Duffield TF, Kelton DF, Leslie KE, Lissemore KD, Lumsden JH. Use of test day milk fat and milk protein to detect subclinical ketosis in dairy cattle in Ontario. Can Vet J 1997;38:713-8.
  2. Toni F, Vincenti L, Grigoletto L, Ricci A, Schukken YH. Early lactation ratio of fat and protein percentage in milk is associated with health, milk production, and survival. J Dairy Sci 2011; 94:1772-83.
  3. Cejna V, Chladek G. The importance of monitoring changes in milk fat to milk protein ratio in Holstein cows during lactation. J Cent Eur Agric 2006;6:539-46.
  4. Collard BL, Boettcher PJ, Dekkers JC, Petitclerc D, Schaeffer LR. Relationships between energy balance and health traits of dairy cattle in early lactation. J Dairy Sci 2000;83:2683-90.
  5. Enjalbert F, Nicot MC, Bayourthe C, Moncoulon R. Ketone bodies in milk and blood of dairy cows: relationship between concentrations and utilization for detection of subclinical ketosis. J Dairy Sci 2001;84:583-9.
  6. Andersson L. Concentrations of blood and milk ketone bodies, blood isopropanol and plasma glucose in dairy cows in relation to the degree of hyperketonaemia and clinical signs. Transbound Emerg Dis 1984;31:683-93.
  7. Geishauser T, Leslie K, Kelton D, Duffield T. Evaluation of five cowside tests for use with milk to detect subclinical ketosis in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 1998;81:438-43.
  8. Van der Drift SG, Van Hulzen KJ, Teweldemedhn TG, et al. Genetic and nongenetic variation in plasma and milk betahydroxybutyrate and milk acetone concentrations of earlylactation dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2012;95:6781-7.
  9. Koeck A, Jamrozik J, Schenkel FS, et al. Genetic analysis of milk beta-hydroxybutyrate and its association with fat-to-protein ratio, body condition score, clinical ketosis, and displaced abomasum in early first lactation of Canadian Holsteins. J Dairy Sci 2014;97:7286-92.
  10. Cho KH, Park B, Choi J, et al. Development of international genetic evaluation models for dairy cattle. J Anim Sci Technol 2013;55:1-6.
  11. Heuer C. The use of test day information to predict energy intake of dairy cows in early lactation. J Dairy Sci 2004;87:593-601.
  12. Heuer C, Van Straalen W, Schukken Y, Dirkzwager A, Noordhuizen J. Prediction of energy balance in a high yielding dairy herd in early lactation: model development and precision. Livest Prod Sci 2000;65:91-105.
  13. Meyer K, WOMBAT-A program for mixed model analyses by restricted maximum likelihood. User notes. Version 1.0. Animal Genetic and Breeding Unit. Armidale, Australia: University of New England; 2010.
  14. Garcia C, Montiel R, Borderas T, Girard V. Relationship between ${\beta}$-hydroxybutyrate and the fat: protein ratio of milk during early lactation in dairy cows. Arch Med Vet 2015;47:21-5.
  15. Buttchereit N, Stamer E, Junge W, Thaller G. Short communication: Genetic relationships among daily energy balance, feed intake, body condition score, and fat to protein ratio of milk in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2011;94:1586-91.
  16. De Vries M, Veerkamp R. Energy balance of dairy cattle in relation to milk production variables and fertility. J Dairy Sci 2000;83:62-9.
  17. Lee S, Cho K, Park M, et al. Genetic parameters of milk betahydroxybutyric acid and acetone and their genetic association with milk production traits of Holstein cattle. Asian-Australas J Anim Sci 2016;29:1530-40.
  18. Veerkamp R, Oldenbroek J, Van Der Gaast H, Van Der Werf J. Genetic correlation between days until start of luteal activity and milk yield, energy balance, and live weights. J Dairy Sci 2000;83:577-83.
  19. Spurlock DM, Dekkers JC, Fernando R, Koltes DA, Wolc A. Genetic parameters for energy balance, feed efficiency, and related traits in Holstein cattle. J Dairy Sci 2012;95:5393-402.