A variable response to fat supplementation has been reported in dairy cows, which may be due to cow production level, environmental conditions, or diet characteristics. In the present experiment, the effect of a high palmitic acid supplement was investigated relative to a conventional Ca salts of palm fatty acids (Ca-FA) supplement in 16 high-producing Holstein cows (46.6 ± 12.4. kg of milk/d) arranged in a crossover design with 14-d periods. The experiment was conducted in a non-heat-stress season with 29.5% neutral detergent fiber diets. Treatments were (1) high palmitic acid (PA) supplement fed as free FA [1.9% of dry matter (DM); 84.8% C16:0] and (2) Ca-FA supplement (2.3% of DM; 47.7% C16:0, 35.9% C18:1, and 8.4% C18:2). The PA supplement tended to increase DM intake, and increased the yields of milk and energy-corrected milk. Additionally, PA increased the yields of milk fat, protein, and lactose, whereas milk concentrations of these components were not affected. The yields of milk de novo and 16-C FA were increased by PA compared with Ca-FA (7 and 20%, respectively), whereas the yield of preformed FA was higher in Ca-FA. A reduction in milk fat concentration of de novo and 16-C FA and a marginal elevation in trans-10 C18:1 in Ca-FA is indicative of altered ruminal biohydrogenation and increased risk of milk fat depression. No effect of treatment on plasma insulin was observed. A treatment by time interaction was detected for plasma nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), which tended to be higher in Ca-FA than in PA before feeding. Overall, the palmitic acid supplement improved production performance in high-producing cows while posing a lower risk for milk fat depression compared with a supplement higher in unsaturated FA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology