Effect of a high-palmitic acid fat supplement on milk production and apparent total-tract digestibility in high- and low-milk yield dairy cows

D. E. Rico, Y. Ying, K. J. Harvatine

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The effect of a high-palmitic acid fat supplement was tested in 12 high-producing (mean. = 42.1. kg/d) and 12 low-producing (mean. = 28.9. kg/d) cows arranged in a replicated 3. ×. 3 Latin square design. Experimental periods were 21. d, with 18. d of diet adaptation and 3 d of sample collection. Treatments were (1) control (no supplemental fat), (2) high-palmitic acid (PA) supplement (84% C16:0), and (3) Ca salts of palm fatty acid (FA) supplement (Ca-FA). The PA supplement had no effect on milk production, but decreased dry matter intake by 7 and 9% relative to the control in high- and low-producing cows, respectively, and increased feed efficiency by 8.5% in high-producing cows compared with the control. Milk fat concentration and yield were not affected by PA relative to the control in high- or low-producing cows, although PA increased the yield of milk 16-C FA by more than 85. g/d relative to the control. The Ca-FA decreased milk fat concentration compared with PA in high-, but not in low-producing cows. In agreement, Ca-FA dramatically increased milk fat concentration of trans-10 C18:1 and trans-10, cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid (>300%) compared with PA in high-producing cows, but not in low-producing cows. No effect of treatment on milk protein concentration or yield was detected. The PA supplement also increased 16-C FA apparent digestibility by over 10% and increased total FA digestibility compared with the control in high- and low-producing cows. During short-term feeding, palmitic acid supplementation did not increase milk or milk fat yield; however, it was efficiently absorbed, increased feed efficiency, and increased milk 16-C FA yield, while minimizing alterations in ruminal biohydrogenation commonly observed for other unsaturated fat supplements. Longer-term experiments will be necessary to determine the effects on energy balance and changes in body reserves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3739-3751
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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