Effect of liquid flavor supplementation of the diet on dairy cows in the transition period.J Dairy Sci. 2004 Jun; 87(6):1872-7.JD
A 9-wk trial was conducted to study the performance of 24 Holstein cows during the transition period (3 wk prepartum to 6 wk postpartum). Cows were assigned to either a control or liquid-flavored (0.52 mL/kg of feed) total mixed ration in a randomized complete block design. The diets contained corn silage, alfalfa haylage, cottonseed, and a grain mix based on ground corn and soybean meal. Cows were fed to ensure 10% orts, and the diet provided (on a dry matter basis) 13% crude protein, 32% acid detergent fiber, 44% neutral detergent fiber, and 1.54 Mcal/kg of NEL prepartum and 17.5% crude protein, 30% acid detergent fiber, 40% neutral detergent fiber, and 1.57 Mcal/kg of NEL postpartum. An additional 2.3 kg of alfalfa hay was fed during the first 5 d postpartum. Weekly means of dry matter intake (DMI), milk yield, milk protein, milk fat, SNF, somatic cell counts, and body weight (BW) were analyzed using a repeated measures procedure. There was no effect of treatment on these variables, and least squares means were 16.9 and 15.7 kg/d for DMI, 38 and 35.3 kg/d for milk yield, 3.10 and 3.11% for milk protein, 3.69 and 3.74% for milk fat, 8.37 and 8.16% for SNF, 1.99 x 10(5) and 4.33 x 10(5) for somatic cell count, and 631 and 651 kg for BW for cows fed control and flavored diets, respectively. Individual cow daily DMI data were fitted to an exponential model describing pre- and postpartum feed consumption [DMI = a - b x e(-c x t), where DMI was measured in kg, a = asymptotic DMI, b = potential fractional increase in DMI, c = fractional rate of increase in DMI, and t = days prior to calving or days in milk]. Fractional rates of increase in DMI were similar: 0.139 and 0.123/d for control and flavored diets, respectively. Data for both groups were separately analyzed using multiple regression with 3.5% fat-corrected milk as the dependent variable and BW and DMI as independent variables. More BW was mobilized per unit increase in 3.5% fat-corrected milk in cows fed the control than in cows fed the flavored diet. Cows fed the control diet tended to be in more negative energy balance during early lactation than cows fed the flavored diet. It was concluded that feeding flavor improved energy balance of cows in early lactation and may reduce the risk of health or reproductive problems.