Metabolism of dairy cows as affected by prepartum dietary carbohydrate source and supplementation with chromium throughout the periparturient period

K. L. Smith, M. R. Waldron, L. C. Ruzzi, J. K. Drackley, M. T. Socha, T. R. Overton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Holstein cows (n = 72) entering second or later lactation were used to determine whether metabolic indices and hepatic capacities for oxidation and gluconeogene-sis from propionate are affected by source of carbohydrate in the prepartum diet and chromium-L-methio-nine (Cr-Met) supplementation throughout the periparturient period. Cows were fed prepartum diets as total mixed rations with the concentrate portion based either on starch-based cereals [high nonfiber carbohydrate (NFC); 1.59 Mcal/kg of net energy for lactation (NEL), 14.4% crude protein (CP), 40.3% NFC] or nonfor-age fiber sources (low NFC; 1.54 Mcal/kg of NEL, 14.5% CP, 33.6% NFC) from 21 d before expected parturition until parturition. After parturition all cows were fed a common lactation total mixed ration (1.74 Mcal/kg of NEL, 16.5% CP, 40.0% NFC). The Cr-Met was supplemented once daily via gelatin capsule at dosages of 0, 0.03, or 0.06 mg of Cr/kg of BW0.75. Thus, treatments were in a 2 (carbohydrate source) × 3 (Cr-Met) factorial arrangement. There was no effect of prepartum carbohydrate source on pre- and postpartum plasma concentrations of glucose, nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), insulin, glucagon, or insulin to glucagon ratio. However, cows fed the low NFC diet during the prepartum period tended to have greater plasma NEFA and lower BHBA concentrations postpartum. Liver glycogen concentrations tended to be greater on d 1 postpartum for cows fed low NFC prepartum. Supplementing 0.03 mg/kg of BW0.75 of Cr as Cr-Met increased prepartum plasma glucose and glucagon concentrations and tended to decrease prepartum plasma NEFA concentrations compared with either 0 or 0.06 mg of Cr/kg of BW0.75. Postpartum plasma glucose concentrations decreased linearly and glucagon concentrations were increased quadratically by administering increasing amounts of Cr-Met. Supplementing Cr-Met did not affect prepartum plasma concentrations of insulin or BHBA, postpartum NEFA or BHBA, or liver composition. There was an interaction of prepartum carbohydrate source and Cr-Met supplementation such that in vitro hepatic conversion of [l- 14C]propionate to both C02 and glucose was similar or increased when Cr-Met was supplemented to cows fed the low NFC diet but decreased when Cr-Met was supplemented to cows fed the high NFC diet. Insulin addition in vitro did not affect hepatic metabolism of propionate on d 1 postpartum. Overall, both the NFC content of the prepartum diet and Cr-Met had only modest effects on metabolic indices in this experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2011-2020
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Carbohydrate
  • Chromium
  • Periparturient cow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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