Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) reduce milk fat synthesis in grazing dairy cows and often improve net energy balance (EBAL). Study objectives were to determine if CLA-induced milk fat depression (MFD) could be utilised during times of feed shortage (i.e drought) to improve bioenergetic and milk production parameters. Twelve multiparous mid-lactation rumen-fistulated Holstein cows were offered ad libitum (AL) or restricted (R) pasture and abomasally infused twice daily with 0 (0) or 50 (50) g/d CLA in a cross over design. Treatment periods lasted 10 d and were separated by a 10-d washout period. Milk and plasma samples were averaged from d 9 and 10, and EBAL was calculated from d 6-10, of the infusion periods. Pasture restriction reduced (P<0.05) the yield of milk and milk components. CLA reduced (P<0.01) milk fat yield by 45 and 46 % in AL and R, respectively. There was no effect of CLA on milk yield nor milk lactose content or yield, however milk protein content increased (P<0.05) in both AL and R, resulting in an increased (P<0.05) protein yield of 6 and 9% respectively. The CLA-induced changes to milk fat and protein increased (P<0.01) protein:fat ratio by approximately 2-fold in both AL and R. Calculated EBAL improved following CLA infusion (-1.84 vs. 11.22 and 1.59 vs. 13.77 MJ/cow/d for AL and R respectively; P<0.05), however CLA did not alter plasma bioenergetic markers (including insulin, non-esterified fatty acids, â-hydroxybutyrate, urea and glucose). Data indicate that during short periods of nutrient restriction, CLA may provide an alternative management tool to improve milk protein:fat ratio and calculated EBAL, however further studies are required to determine if CLA is effective at improving bioenergetic parameters during more severe nutrient restriction.

JK, Kay, TR Mackle, DE Bauman, NA Thomson, and LH Baumgard

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 66, Napier, 423-428, 2006
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