The present study was designed to estimate the repeatability of fatty acid composition in cows’ milk collected at a pm:am herd test. As part of a larger project, whole milk was collected during a routine herd test in March 2003 from 10 Friesian and 10 Jersey cows at Flock House, in the evening and again the following morning. Fat in the 40 samples was separated by centrifugation, fatty acids were converted to their methyl esters, and individual fatty acid percentages in each sample were assayed by gas chromatography. In general, the fatty acid composition of milk was very similar at the pm and am samplings. For the fatty acids making the largest contributions (10 to 29% of the total) to fatty acids present in milk (C14:0, C16:0, C18:0 and C18:1 cis-9 (oleic)) and for conjugated linoleic acid and the Mono- Unsaturated/Saturated ratio, pooled within-breed correlations of compositions between pm and am milk samples were high (0.76, 0.80, 0.88, 0.76, 0.75 and 0.74, respectively; standard errors 0.06 to 0.12). The pm:am correlation, averaged over the most abundant 15 fatty acids in milk, was 0.77 ± 0.10. It is concluded that a single milk sample or a pooled pm:am sample is adequate for estimating the composition of the predominant fatty acids. KEYWORDS: milk; fatty acid; cows; repeatability.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 65, Christchurch, 297-299, 2005
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