Effect of changes in diet energy density on feed intake, milk yield and metabolic parameters in dairy cows in early lactation

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N.I. Nielsen, N.C. Friggens, T. Larsen, J.B. Andersen, Mette Olaf Nielsen, K.L. Ingvartsen

The purpose of this experiment was to investigate how early lactating cows adjust their metabolism and production to acute, but moderate changes in the energy density of the diet. Sixty dairy cows were randomly assigned to one of four treatments: two change-over groups (HNH and NHN) and two control groups (HHH and NNN), where H and N refer to a high and normal energy density in the total mixed ration (TMR), respectively. The experimental period covered the first 9 weeks post calving, which was split up in three 3-week periods. Thus, cows assigned to HNH or NHN shifted TMR in weeks 4 and 7 after calving while cows assigned to HHH or NNN were fed the same TMR for all 9 weeks. Results from cows on treatment HNH were compared with group HHH while cows on treatment NHN were compared with group NNN. When the diet changed from N to H and H to N, cows increased and decreased their dry-matter intake (DMI), respectively compared with control groups. Cows adjusted milk yield accordingly to changes in DMI, although not always significantly. Energy-corrected milk yield was not significantly affected by any of the changes in the energy density of the diet but generally showed same tendencies as milk yield. Non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), beta-hydroxybutyrate in blood and milk and triacylglycerol and glycogen content in the liver were not significantly affected by changes in the energy density of the diet, except from NEFA at one change. Glucose increased more when the diet changed from N to H and increased less when the diet changed from H to N, compared with control groups, although not always significantly. Cellectively, these resutls sugggest that cows adjust their DMI and partly milk yield according to the energy density of the diet and therefore only limited effects were observed in physiological parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)335-346
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Research areas

  • LIFE - dairy cows, energy metabolism, metabolism, nutrient balance

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