Peripartal metabolism and production of Holstein cows fed diets supplemented with fat during the dry period

G. N. Douglas, T. R. Overton, H. G. Bateman, J. K. Drackley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous research from our laboratory demonstrated that cows fed supplemental fat throughout the dry period in an attempt to increase body condition score (BCS) had little hepatic lipid accumulation at d 1 postpartum compared with cows fed an isocaloric high-grain diet or a lower energy control diet. However, results were confounded by lower dry matter intake and loss of BCS by cows fed the fat-supplemented diet. Here, cows were fed a control diet (C) moderately high in nonfiber carbohydrates (NFC) or an isocaloric fat-supplemented, low NFC (F) diet to reassess the effects of supplemental fat throughout the dry period on peripartal lipid accumulation in liver. A more energy-dense, high-NFC diet supplemented with fat (CF) was also fed to test the efficacy of supplemental fat in a diet with similar carbohydrate composition but higher energy density. Intakes of dry matter and net energy for lactation were similar among treatments throughout the experiment, although diet x day interactions during the last 21 d before parturition indicated that cows fed CF decreased intakes more slowly. Cows gained similar amounts of BCS and body weight among diets prepartum, but cows fed C tended to lose more BCS and body weight around parturition. Milk production and milk components did not differ among treatments. Prepartum concentrations of glucose, insulin, total protein, nonesterified fatty acids, and β-hydroxybutyrate in plasma were similar among treatments. Supplemental fat increased prepartum concentrations of urea and cholesterol in plasma. Postpartum concentrations of metabolites and insulin in plasma were similar among treatments. Concentrations of total lipid and triglyceride in liver increased at parturition, whereas hepatic glycogen concentration decreased, but concentrations were not different among treatments. Supplemental fat fed prepartum did not affect peripartal lipid accumulation in liver tissue and did not benefit postpartum milk production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4210-4220
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Dry period
  • Energy
  • Liver
  • Supplemental fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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