Effects of commercially available palmitic and stearic acid supplements on nutrient digestibility and production responses of lactating dairy cows.J Dairy Sci. 2020 Jun; 103(6):5131-5142.JD
We evaluated the effects of commercially available fatty acid (FA) supplements containing palmitic (C16:0) and stearic acid (C18:0) on nutrient digestibility and production responses of dairy cows. Thirty-six mid-lactation (146 ± 55 d in milk) multiparous Holstein cows were randomly assigned to twelve 3 × 3 balanced truncated Latin squares, with 3 treatments and 2 consecutive 35-d periods, with the final 5 d used for sample and data collection. Treatments were (1) a control diet containing no supplemental FA (CON), (2) a control diet supplemented with a commercially available C16:0 supplement (PA), and (3) a control diet supplemented with a commercially available C16:0 and C18:0 supplement (MIX). Supplements were fed at 1.5% dry matter and replaced soyhulls in CON. The statistical model included the random effect of cow nested within square and the fixed effects of treatment, period, square, and their interactions. Preplanned contrasts were (1) overall effect of FA treatments [CON vs. the average of the FA treatments (FAT); 1/2 (PA + MIX)], and (2) effect of FA supplement (PA vs. MIX). Treatment had no effects on dry matter intake, body weight, or body weight change. Compared with CON, FAT decreased digestibilities of total FA and 18-carbon FA but did not affect dry matter and neutral detergent fiber digestibility. Compared with MIX, PA increased dry matter and neutral detergent fiber digestibilities by 3.6 and 4.8 percentage units, respectively. The PA also increased total FA and 18-carbon FA digestibilities but did not alter 16-carbon FA digestibility compared with MIX. Using a Lucas test, we estimated apparent digestibility coefficients of 0.768 and 0.553 for the PA and MIX supplements, respectively. Compared with CON, FAT increased milk yield and tended to increase energy-corrected milk, but did not affect yield of milk fat or milk protein. The PA increased energy-corrected milk and milk fat yield but had no effect on milk protein yield compared with MIX. Our results indicate that dairy cows producing around 45 kg of milk respond better to a FA supplement enriched in C16:0 compared with a supplement containing both C16:0 and C18:0, which is likely due in part to PA increasing FA and neutral detergent fiber digestibility compared with MIX.