Milk production and composition, food consumption, and energy balance of postpartum crossbred Holstein-Gir dairy cows fed two diets of different energy levels
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the production, consumption, and energy balance parameters of primiparous 3/4 and 7/8 Holstein × Gir (HG) dairy cows fed two diets of differing energy levels during the postpartum period. At the beginning of the study, 28 days prepartum, the average weight of both genetic groups was 498 ± 12 kg and body condition score (BCS) was 3.5 ± 0.05. At the end of the study, 61 days postpartum, the 3/4 HG cows had higher weight and body condition scores than the 7/8 HG (456 ± 8 and 429 ± 8 kg and 3.13 ± 0.03 and 2.94 ± 0.03 BCS for 3/4 HG and 7/8 HG, respectively). Milk from cows fed the high-energy diet had higher percentages of fat, protein, lactose, and total dry extract than cows fed the low-energy diet. Cows fed the high-energy diet had higher net energy intake (95.3 ± 1.9 vs. 88.1 ± 2.1 MJ/day) and higher energy balance (3.64 ± 2.13 vs − 6.02 ± 2.30 MJ/day). The 3/4 HG cows displayed higher energy for maintenance (33.1 ± 0.4 MJ/day) than the 7/8 HG (31.5 ± 0.5 MJ /day). In conclusion, although the primiparous 3/4 HG were heavier than the 7/8 HG and had a higher body condition score, no differences in milk produced up to 60 days postpartum were observed. The higher energy diet during the postpartum period increased energy balance, resulting in higher production of milk fat, protein, and lactose.
KeywordsDairy cattle Girolando Energy consumption Milk composition Primiparous
This study was supported by FAPEMIG and EMBRAPA. FZB is a fellow of the CNPq and GBS, LSR, and ALF of CAPES.
Compliance with ethical standards
Statement of animal rights
The Animal Care Committee of Embrapa Gado de Leite approved the study design (protocol number #03/2012), and it was conducted according to the principles of the Sociedade Brasileira de Ciência em Animais de Laboratório, which regulates conditions for experiments involving animals.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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