Effect of a mixture of supplemental dietary plant essential oils on performance of periparturient and early lactation dairy cows.J Dairy Sci. 2009 Apr; 92(4):1734-40.JD
Plant essential plant oils (EO) are volatile aromatic compounds with antimicrobial activity that can alter ruminal fermentation when used as dietary supplements. A feeding trial was conducted to determine the effects of dietary supplementation of periparturient and early lactation dairy cows with a specific mixture of EO. Forty multiparous Holstein cows were randomly assigned to either control (C) or EO-supplemented (1.2 g/cow per day) total mixed rations (TMR). Feeding of treatment diets commenced 3 wk before the expected calving date and continued through 15 wk in lactation. The prepartum TMR contained 70% forage [70% corn silage, 15% alfalfa silage, and 15% wheat straw; dry matter (DM) basis]. The lactation TMR contained 50% forage (60% corn silage, 33% alfalfa silage, 7% alfalfa hay; DM basis). Prepartum and lactation TMR were formulated to contain 12 and 17% CP (DM basis), respectively. There were no differences between treatments for prepartum DM intake (DMI), but DMI was 1.8 kg/d less for EO than C on average across the 15-wk lactation trial. Plasma concentrations of glucose, nonesterified fatty acids, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and urea-N on samples collected -21, -14, -7, -1, 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 d relative to calving were unaffected by treatment. There were no differences between treatments for actual or fat-corrected milk yields on average across the 15-wk lactation trial. Milk protein content was 0.15% units less for EO than C. Feed efficiency (kg of milk per kg of DMI) tended to be greater for EO than C on average and was greater during wk 8 to 14 of lactation. Prepartum and lactation body weight and condition score measurements were unaffected by treatment. There was no benefit to EO in prepartum dairy cows. Dietary supplementation with EO reduced DMI in early lactation dairy cows with no effect on milk yield.