Main content area

Fatty acid profile of milk for determining reproductive status in lactating Holstein Friesian cows

Zebari, Hawar M., Rutter, S. Mark, Bleach, Emma C.L.
Animal reproduction science 2019
Holstein, acetic acid, arachidonic acid, dairy cows, diestrus, estrus, fatty acid composition, gas chromatography, hexanoic acid, lactating females, lactation, milk, milk composition, pedometer, urine, valeric acid
Large percentages of dairy cows do not express behavioural signs of oestrus. Faecal and urine fatty acid concentrations increase during oestrus. The objective of the present study was to determine the milk FA profile of dairy cows during the oestrous and dioestrous periods and the relationship with behavioural signs on the day of oestrus. The activity of 32 Holstein Friesian cows was measured continuously using GEA Rescounter ll pedometers (GEA Farm Technologies, Düsseldorf, Germany) and IceQubes (IceRobotics Ltd., Edinburgh, UK). Milk samples were collected on the day of oestrus and on day 14 of the subsequent oestrous cycle and analysed for FA concentration using gas chromatography (GC) and milk composition was also determined. All cows were artificially inseminated within 12 h of the onset of oestrus. On the day of oestrus, the concentration of acetic acid (P < 0.001), valeric acid (P = 0.016), caproic acid (P < 0.001) and myristoleic (P = 0.035) were greater in milk compared to day 14. On day 14 milk arachidonic acid concentration, however, was greater (P = 0.004) compared to the day of oestrus. Also, on day 14 arachidonic acid concentration was greater (P = 0.002) in non-pregnant compared to pregnant cows. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate there are changes in the concentrations of some milk FA during oestrus and dioestrus in lactating dairy cows.