The objective of the present studies was to determine effects of basal dietary forage source on the response of milk fatty acid composition to an oil supplement based (2:1, respectively, w/w) on soybean oil and marine algae biomass oil high in cis-9, cis-12 C18:2n - 3 and C22:6n - 3, respectively. In Study 1, Hampshire × Dorset ewes (48) were randomly assigned to one of four treatments and 12 pens in a completely randomized design blocked on the basis of lambing date and number of lambs suckled. Control rations (60:40 forage:concentrate, dry matter (DM) basis) based on alfalfa pellets (AP) or corn silage (CS) were fed from lambing. Beginning at 22 days postpartum, three pens of ewes fed AP and three pens of ewes fed CS were supplemented with oil (30 g/kg of ration DM) in place of corn meal. Average ewe DM intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG) were measured weekly. Milk yield and composition were measured at 42 days postpartum. DMI was lower (P<0.02) for CS and for oil, but milk yield was not affected by forage source or oil supplementation. Milk fat content was higher for oil (P<0.10) and milk protein content was higher for AP (P<0.04). Total CLA concentration (g/100 g fatty acids) increased (P<0.01) with CS and oil, and the response to oil was greater for AP (P<0.04). Similarly, total trans-C18:1 and C22:6ω-3 concentrations were higher for CS and oil, but the response to oil was greater for CS (P<0.06 and P<0.01, respectively). In Study 2, the experiment was repeated using alfalfa haylage (AH) instead of AP. The DMI decreased (P<0.05) with oil feeding, but was not affected by forage source. Milk yield was decreased by feeding oil with AH, but not by feeding oil with CS (P<0.03). Milk fat content tended to be increased by feeding oil with AH, but tended to be decreased by feeding oil with CS (P<0.08). Total CLA concentration was increased (P<0.01) for AH versus CS and by oil, and the response to oil supplementation was greater for AH (P<0.01). In contrast, total trans-C18:1 concentration was higher for CS versus AH, with a greater response to oil for CS (P<0.05). Feeding marine oil increased the C22:6ω-3 (P<0.01) concentration, and the response was greater for AH (P<0.04). To further characterize the response of milk fat composition to dietary oil in ewes, a third study used six pens of three ewes each assigned to either the control CS diet used for Study 2 or the same diet supplemented with 45 g/kg (DM basis) of the oil mixture. Feeding oil had no effect on DMI, milk yield or milk fat concentration, but again increased (P<0.001) total trans-C18:1 and C22:6ω-3 concentrations and numerically increased (114%) total CLA concentration. Milk fatty acid composition responses to supplemental vegetable and marine oils were affected by forage source. Milk trans-C18:1 concentration was higher when CS was fed in Studies 1 and 2, but the effect of forage species on CLA concentration differed between studies, which may reflect differences in diet PUFA content and consumption, as well as amounts of dietary starch and fiber consumed. Despite large increases in trans-C18:1 concentration, milk fat content was not decreased by feeding unsaturated oils to ewes, even at diet levels of 45 g/kg of ration DM.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology