Prepartal plane of nutrition, regardless of dietary energy source, affects periparturient metabolism and dry matter intake in Holstein cows

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research in our laboratory showed that dietary fat supplementation during the dry period was associated with decreased peripartum hepatic lipid accumulation. However, fat supplementation decreased dry matter (DM) intake and thereby confounded results. Consequently, 47 Holstein cows with body condition scores (BCS) ≤ 3.5 at dry-off were used to determine whether source or amount of energy fed to dry cows was responsible for the decreased hepatic lipid content. Moderate grain- or fat-supplemented diets [1.50 Meal of net energy for lactation (NEL)/kg] were fed from dry-off (60 d before expected parturition) to calving at either ad libitum (160% of NEL requirement) or restricted (80% of NEL requirement) intakes. Postpartum, cows were fed a single lactation diet for ad libitum intake and performance was measured for 105 d. Prepartum intakes of DM and NEL were significantly lower for feed-restricted cows as designed. During the first 21 d postpartum, previously restricted cows had higher intakes of DM and NE L. Body weights and BCS were lower prepartum for restricted cows but groups converged to similar nadirs postpartum. Restricted-fed cows had lower concentrations of glucose and insulin and increased concentrations of NEFA in plasma during the dry period. Peripartum NEFA rose markedly for all treatments but were higher postpartum for cows previously fed ad libitum. Plasma concentrations of NEFA and BHBA remained lower in cows restricted-fed during the dry period. Postpartum concentrations of total lipid and triglyceride in liver were lower in cows previously feed-restricted. Across dietary treatments, activity of carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) in hepatic mitochondria was lowest at -21 d, highest at 1 d, and decreased at 21 and 65 d relative to parturition. The activity of CPT at d 1 tended to be higher for previously feed-restricted cows; thereafter, CPT activity declined more rapidly than in cows fed ad libitum. Nutrient intake during the dry period had more pronounced effects on peripartal lipid metabolism and DMI than did composition of the prepartum diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2141-2157
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Dry period
  • Feed restriction
  • Liver metabolism
  • Supplemental fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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