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Carbohydrate source offered in the prepartum diet did not affect postpartum metabolic status or milk yield in dairy cows

  • A. Mendoza (a1) (a2), R. Wijma (a1), J. T. Morales Piñeyrúa (a1) and D. Cavestany (a3)


Increasing the provision of non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFC) during the prepartum period is a feeding strategy that has been recommended to facilitate the transition to the onset of lactation and improve dairy cow performance, but results are contradictory, probably because most studies have confounded the effects of level and source of energy. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of the source of carbohydrate offered in the prepartum diet on postpartum cow performance. Holstein dairy cows (n=24) were assigned to receive diets with either low (LNFC), or high (HNFC) levels of NFC during the last 3 weeks before expected calving date according to a randomized complete block design. Soybean hulls and corn grain were the main energy ingredients in the LNFC and HNFC total mixed rations (TMR), respectively, and diets were designed to be isocaloric and isoproteic. After calving, all cows were managed as a single group until day 56 postpartum and grazed on improved pastures and were supplemented with a TMR. Body condition score evaluation and blood sampling were performed weekly throughout the experimental period to monitor the metabolic status of the animals. Prepartum glucose concentrations tended to be greater in HNFC than LNFC, but there was no effect on prepartum or postpartum insulin concentrations. Although nutrient intake was greater in the immediate week after calving in HNFC than LNFC, treatment did not affect milk yield and composition. In conclusion, increasing the NFC intake during the prepartum period, at a similar level of energy and protein intake, had a marginal residual effect on postpartum intake, and did not affect metabolic status or milk production.


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Present address: Servicios técnicos vacuno de leche, COVAP, Ctra. Canaleja, CP 14400, Pozoblanco, Spain.


Present address: Unidad de Posgrados, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de la República, Lasplaces 1620, CP 11600, Montevideo, Uruguay.



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Carbohydrate source offered in the prepartum diet did not affect postpartum metabolic status or milk yield in dairy cows

  • A. Mendoza (a1) (a2), R. Wijma (a1), J. T. Morales Piñeyrúa (a1) and D. Cavestany (a3)


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