Effects of timing of palmitic acid supplementation on production responses of early-lactation dairy cows.J Dairy Sci. 2019 Jan; 102(1):260-273.JD
The objective of our study was to evaluate the effects of timing of palmitic acid (C16:0) supplementation on production responses of early-lactation dairy cows. Fifty-two multiparous cows were used in a randomized complete block design experiment. During the fresh period (FR; 1-24 d in milk) cows were assigned to either a control diet containing no supplemental fat (CON) or a diet supplemented with C16:0 (palmitic acid, PA; 1.5% of diet dry matter). During the peak (PK) period (25-67 d in milk) cows were assigned to either a CON diet or a PA (1.5% of diet dry matter) diet in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments considering the diet that they received during the FR period. During the FR period, we did not observe treatment differences for dry matter intake or milk yield. Compared with CON, PA increased the yield of 3.5% fat-corrected milk by 5.30 kg/d, yield of energy-corrected milk (ECM) by 4.70 kg/d, milk fat content by 0.41% units, milk fat yield by 280 g/d, and protein yield by 100 g/d. The increase in milk fat associated with the PA treatment during the FR period occurred due to an increase in yield of 16-carbon milk fatty acids (FA) by 147 g/d (derived from both de novo synthesis and extraction from plasma) and preformed milk FA by 96 g/d. Compared with CON, PA decreased body weight (BW) by 21 kg and body condition score (BCS) by 0.09 units and tended to increase BW loss by 0.76 kg/d. Although PA consistently increased milk fat yield and ECM over time, a treatment × time interaction was observed for BW and BCS due to PA inducing a greater decrease in BW and BCS after the second week of treatments. Feeding PA during the PK period increased milk yield by 3.45 kg/d, yield of 3.5% fat-corrected milk by 4.50 kg/d, yield of ECM by 4.60 kg/d, milk fat content by 0.22% units, milk fat yield by 210 g/d, protein yield by 140 g/d, and lactose yield by 100 g/d but tended to reduce BW by 10 kg compared with CON. Also, during the PK period we observed an interaction between diet fed in the FR and PK periods for milk fat yield due to feeding PA during the PK period increasing milk fat yield to a greater extent in cows that received the CON diet (+240 g/d) rather than the PA diet (+180 g/d) during the FR period. This difference was associated with the yield of preformed FA because feeding PA during the PK period increased the yield of preformed milk FA only in cows that received the CON diet during the FR period. In conclusion, feeding a C16:0 supplement to early-lactation cows consistently increased the yield of ECM in both the FR and PK periods compared with a control diet. For some variables, the effect of feeding C16:0 was affected by timing of supplementation because milk yield increased only during the PK period and BW decreased to a greater extent in the FR period. Regardless of diet fed in the FR period, feeding a C16:0 supplement during the PK period increased yields of milk and milk components.