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Short communication: Dipping efficiency and teat dip residues in milk using an automatic dipping system - Corrected Proof
W. Berg, S. Rose-Meierhöfer, C. Ammon, C. Kobbe

ABSTRACT: Prototypes of the automatic-dipping system Apollo were tested with the IQ milking cluster (GEA Farm Technologies GmbH, Bönen, Germany) to determine the teat-dip residues in the milk and the dipping performance (number of dipped teats) of the system compared with manual (hand) dipping. A laboratory trial and a field trial at a dairy farm were performed to determine the iodine level in the milk when an iodine-based teat dip was used. In the laboratory trial, the mean difference between the 53 paired samples (sampling upstream and downstream of the cluster) was 18.9 ± 3.18 μg of iodine/kg. A field trial at a 300-cow commercial dairy farm consisted of taking 2 sets of individual cow milk samples 6 wk apart. Three weeks before the second test day, the iodine-based teat dip was replaced by an iodine-free teat dip. The mean difference between the 2 sets of 55 samples was 25.1 ± 5.22 μg/kg. Compared with manually applying an iodine-based teat dip, the increase in the iodine content resulting from the use of the tested cluster with automatic dipping was very low and would not be an issue of food safety. The dipping performance tests were completed on the same 300-cow commercial dairy farm as the field iodine level trial was performed. In total, 4,541 teats from 307 cows were observed on 4 consecutive days, showing a 91.6 ± 1.3% success rate.

Invited review: Enteric methane in dairy cattle production: Quantifying the opportunities and impact of reducing emissions - Corrected Proof
J.R. Knapp, G.L. Laur, P.A. Vadas, W.P. Weiss, J.M. Tricarico

ABSTRACT: Many opportunities exist to reduce enteric methane (CH4) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of product from ruminant livestock. Research over the past century in genetics, animal health, microbiology, nutrition, and physiology has led to improvements in dairy production where intensively managed farms have GHG emissions as low as 1 kg of CO2 equivalents (CO2e)/kg of energy-corrected milk (ECM), compared with >7 kg of CO2e/kg of ECM in extensive systems. The objectives of this review are to evaluate options that have been demonstrated to mitigate enteric CH4 emissions per unit of ECM (CH4/ECM) from dairy cattle on a quantitative basis and in a sustained manner and to integrate approaches in genetics, feeding and nutrition, physiology, and health to emphasize why herd productivity, not individual animal productivity, is important to environmental sustainability. A nutrition model based on carbohydrate digestion was used to evaluate the effect of feeding and nutrition strategies on CH4/ECM, and a meta-analysis was conducted to quantify the effects of lipid supplementation on CH4/ECM. A second model combining herd structure dynamics and production level was used to estimate the effect of genetic and management strategies that increase milk yield and reduce culling on CH4/ECM. Some of these approaches discussed require further research, but many could be implemented now. Past efforts in CH4 mitigation have largely focused on identifying and evaluating CH4 mitigation approaches based on nutrition, feeding, and modifications of rumen function. Nutrition and feeding approaches may be able to reduce CH4/ECM by 2.5 to 15%, whereas rumen modifiers have had very little success in terms of sustained CH4 reductions without compromising milk production. More significant reductions of 15 to 30% CH4/ECM can be achieved by combinations of genetic and management approaches, including improvements in heat abatement, disease and fertility management, performance-enhancing technologies, and facility design to increase feed efficiency and life-time productivity of individual animals and herds. Many of the approaches discussed are only partially additive, and all approaches to reducing enteric CH4 emissions should consider the economic impacts on farm profitability and the relationships between enteric CH4 and other GHG.

Survey of preweaning dairy calf-rearing practices in Czech dairy herds - Corrected Proof
S. Staněk, V. Zink, O. Doležal, L. Štolc

ABSTRACT: It is important to describe weaknesses in rearing calves not only to improve their welfare, but also to detect areas where current scientific knowledge is poorly integrated into practice. A survey of preweaning calf-rearing practices was conducted using a farmer questionnaire. The survey included 136 farms, representing 11.9% of all dairy cows in the Czech Republic. Mean herd size (± standard deviation) was 326 ± 131.4 cows, and mean milk production 7,413 ± 1,389.5 kg per cow per year. We evaluated 59 farms with Holsteins (H) and 77 with the Czech Fleckvieh breed (C). The survey revealed that (1) calving in group pens predominated (67.6% of farms); (2) no disinfection of calf navels occurred on 11.8% of herds; (3) pooled colostrum was fed on 15.4% of farms; (4) colostrum quality was controlled on only 44.1% of farms, and only 73.5% of farms had reserve colostrum stocks; (5) nonmarket waste milk was fed in 64.7% of herds but it was pasteurized in only in 6.8% of herds and acidified in 35.2% of herds; (6) milk replacer was mixed with nonmarket waste milk on 52.9% of farms; (7) 58.8% of farms enabled calves to obtain milk by sucking and 41.2% by drinking from a bucket; (8) the main criterion in weaning was calf age (61.7%), followed by acceptance of starter and concentrated feed (19.9%) and lack of housing capacity (18.4%); and (9) newborn calves were individually housed on 96.7% of farms and group-housed on 3.3% of farms. The most marked differences in calf-rearing management between Holstein and Czech Fleckvieh farms were (1) a higher proportion of operations calving in tie-stalls or stanchions in C (6.5%) versus H (1.7%) farms; (2) a higher proportion of untreated navels on C (15.6%) versus H (6.8%) farms; (3) a lower proportion of C (11.7%) versus H (20.4%) farms feeding pooled colostrum; (4) a lower proportion of C (39%) versus H (50.9%) farms monitoring colostrum quality; (5) sucking milk from nipple buckets predominated (61%) on C farms, whereas drinking from an open bucket was most common (64.4%) on H farms; (6) age was the main criterion in weaning calves of both breeds (C farms: 55.8%, H farms: 69.5%), whereas the second most important criterion was lack of housing capacity (28.6% of farms) on C farms and the amount of consumed starter (25.4%) on H farms. We observed a difference in duration of colostrum period between C herds (median 5 d) and H herds (median 4 d). A tendency was observed for age of calves at weaning (C herds: median at 9.1 wk, H herds: median at 10 wk).

The effect of rumen digesta inoculation on the time course of recovery from classical diet-induced milk fat depression in dairy cows - Corrected Proof
D.E. Rico, Y. Ying, A.R. Clarke, K.J. Harvatine

ABSTRACT: Ten ruminally cannulated cows were used in a crossover design that investigated the effect of rumen digesta inoculation from non-milk fat-depressed cows on recovery from classical diet-induced milk fat depression (MFD) characterized by reduced fat yield, reduced de novo milk fat synthesis, and increased alternate trans isomers. Two additional cows fed a high-fiber and low-polyunsaturated fatty acid (FA) diet (31.8% neutral detergent fiber, 4.2% FA, and 1.2% C18:2) were used as rumen digesta donors. Milk fat depression was induced during the first 10 d of each period by feeding a low-fiber and high-polyunsaturated FA diet (induction; 26.1% neutral detergent fiber, 5.8% FA, and 1.9% C18:2), resulting in a 30% decrease in milk fat yield. A recovery phase followed where all cows were switched to the high-forage, low-polyunsaturated FA diet and were allocated to (1) control (no inoculation) or (2) ruminal inoculation with donor cow digesta (8 kg/d for 6 d). Milk yield and composition were measured every 3 d. Milk yield progressively decreased during recovery. Milk fat concentration increased progressively during the recovery phase and no effect of treatment existed at any time point. Also, no treatment effect of milk fat yield was detected. The concentration of milk de novo FA increased progressively during recovery for both treatments and was higher for inoculated compared with control cows on d 6. In agreement, milk fat concentration of trans-10,cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid decreased progressively in both treatments and was lower in inoculated cows on d 3 and 6. Ruminal inoculation from non-milk fat-depressed cows did not change milk fat yield, but slightly accelerated the rate of recovery of de novo FA synthesis and normal ruminal FA biohydrogenation, demonstrating a possible opportunity for other interventions that improve the ruminal environment to accelerate recovery from this condition.

Physicochemical, microbial, and sensory properties of nanopowdered eggshell-supplemented yogurt during storage - Corrected Proof
Mohammad Al Mijan, Kyung-Hoon Choi, Hae-Soo Kwak

ABSTRACT: This study was carried out to investigate the possibility of adding nanopowdered eggshell (NPES) into yogurt to improve the functionality of yogurt and the effects of adding NPES on the physicochemical, microbial, and sensory properties of the products during storage. The pH and mean lactic acid bacteria counts of NPES-added (0.15–0.45%, wt/vol) yogurt ranged from 4.31 to 4.66 and from 6.56 × 108 to 8.56 × 108 cfu/mL, respectively, whereas these values ranged from 4.13 to 4.44 and 8.46 × 108 to 1.39 × 109, respectively, for the control samples during storage at 5°C for 16 d, which indicates a prolonged shelf-life with NPES-supplemented yogurt. Color analysis showed that the lightness (L*) and position between red and green (a*) values were not significantly influenced by the addition of NPES. However, the position between yellow and blue (b*) value significantly increased with the addition of the concentration (0.45%, wt/vol) of NPES at d 16 of storage. Sensory evaluation revealed that NPES-added yogurts showed a notably less sourness score and a higher astringency score than the control. An earthy flavor was higher in 0.45% NPES-supplemented yogurt compared with the control. Based on the results obtained from the current study, the concentration (0.15 to 0.30%, wt/vol) of NPES can be used to formulate NPES-supplemented yogurt without any significant adverse effects on the physicochemical, microbial, and sensory properties.

Evaluation of udder firmness by palpation and a dynamometer - Corrected Proof
A. Rees, C. Fischer-Tenhagen, W. Heuwieser

ABSTRACT: Swelling of the mammary gland is an important health status sign for clinical exploration and palpation is a routine diagnostic tool for mastitis detection in dairy cows. Data on repeatability or validity of specific methods of udder palpation are rare. The overall objective was to study the validity of estimates of udder firmness generated by palpation and by using a validated dynamometer. Specifically, we set out to determine within-observer repeatability and between-observer repeatability in 2 specific experiments. Additionally, we compared a 4-point palpation scoring system with estimates obtained with a dynamometer in this study. In a pilot trial, we determined the range of udder firmness of 25 cows and developed an in vitro model for udder firmness. This model enabled training of the observers and allowed investigating a 4-point palpation scoring system. In vivo, udder firmness was determined before and after milking by palpation and by using a dynamometer. Within-observer repeatability based on estimates of udder firmness of 25 cows obtained by 3 observers on a single day by palpation was 0.968. Within-observer repeatability of estimates of udder firmness of 25 cows obtained with the dynamometer by a single observer was 0.997. The coefficient of variation of the same measures was 9.1%. To determine between-observer repeatability (palpation: 0.932; dynamometer: 0.898), udder firmness of 100 cows was measured on 4 different days by 9 observers in experiment 2. Udder firmness in dairy cows could be measured repeatably with the dynamometer and by palpation, especially when performed by a single observer. Estimates of udder firmness generated by palpation and with the dynamometer were moderately related (correlation coefficient = 0.54). Training of observers through the pilot trial or practical experience in the 4 d of the study in experiment 2 did not improve the correlation. Further research is warranted to understand how udder firmness develops in infected udders.

Space allowance and barriers influence cow competition for mixed rations fed on a feed-pad between bouts of grazing - Corrected Proof
A.D. Hetti Arachchige, A.D. Fisher, W.J. Wales, M.J. Auldist, M.C. Hannah, E.C. Jongman

ABSTRACT: The objective of this experiment was to evaluate how feeding space allowance and provision of feed barriers interact to affect feeding and social behavior of dairy cows fed a partial mixed ration on a feed-pad. The treatments were factorial with 3 feeding space allowances (0.6, 0.75, or 1.0 m of trough space per cow) and feed troughs that were either open or had head barriers that physically separated adjacent cows to reduce interactions during feeding. One hundred and forty-four Holstein-Friesian cows in mid lactation were allocated into 12 groups of 12 cows, with 1 of 6 treatments (3 × 2) randomly assigned to 2 groups out of 12. Treatments were changed weekly over 3 wk according to a row-column, crossover design, with week corresponding to rows and group corresponding to columns. Thus, the design included 2 replicated groups per treatment in each week. Grazed pasture intake was approximately 6.1 kg of dry matter (DM)/cow per day, supplemented with 3.5 kg of DM/cow per day of wheat (Triticum aestivum) grain fed during milking and 10.7 kg of DM/cow per day of a mixed ration offered on the feed-pad after each milking. The experiment comprised a 7-d pre-experimental period followed by a 21-d experimental period. The social hierarchy within each group was determined before the experiment commenced. Feeding and social behaviors of cows were analyzed using video recordings and the changes in heart rate and heart rate variability were determined using heart rate monitors. Data were analyzed using mixed effect models by REML. When feeding space allowance was increased, we observed an increase in the time a cow spent feeding and a decrease in the number of feeding bouts in relation to the total time feed was available, particularly in subordinate cows. The number of aggressive behaviors and displacements decreased when space allowance increased. In addition, HR was reduced and the reduction was more pronounced in subordinate cows compared with dominant cows. Use of feed barriers increased cow feeding time and decreased the number of feeding bouts in relation to the total time feed was available, particularly in subordinate cows, and reduced the number of cow displacements during feeding. We conclude that increasing the feeding space from 0.6 to 0.75 to 1.0 m reduces aggressive interactions and improves cow feeding behavior, with the effects being greatest for subordinate cows. The use of feed barriers further reduces competition at the feed trough in a partial mixed ration feeding system.

Evaluation of the use of dry cow antibiotics in low somatic cell count cows - Corrected Proof
C.G.M. Scherpenzeel, I.E.M. den Uijl, G. van Schaik, R.G.M. Olde Riekerink, J.M. Keurentjes, T.J.G.M. Lam

ABSTRACT: The goal of dry cow therapy (DCT) is to reduce the prevalence of intramammary infections (IMI) by eliminating existing IMI at drying off and preventing new IMI from occurring during the dry period. Due to public health concerns, however, preventive use of antibiotics has become questionable. This study evaluated selective DCT in 1,657 cows with low somatic cell count (SCC) at the last milk recording before drying off in 97 Dutch dairy herds. Low SCC was defined as <150,000 cells/mL for primiparous and <250,000 cells/mL for multiparous cows. A split-udder design was used in which 2 quarters of each cow were treated with dry cow antibiotics and the other 2 quarters remained as untreated controls. The effect of DCT on clinical mastitis (CM), bacteriological status, SCC, and antibiotic use were determined at the quarter level using logistic regression and chi-squared tests. The incidence rate of CM was found to be 1.7 times (95% confidence interval = 1.4–2.1) higher in quarters dried off without antibiotics as compared with quarters dried off with antibiotics. Streptococcus uberis was the predominant organism causing CM in both groups. Somatic cell count at calving and 14 d in milk was significantly higher in quarters dried off without antibiotics (772,000 and 46,000 cells/mL, respectively) as compared with the quarters dried off with antibiotics (578,000 and 30,000 cells/mL, respectively). Quarters with an elevated SCC at drying off and quarters with a positive culture for major pathogens at drying off had a higher risk for an SCC above 200,000 cells/mL at 14 d in milk as compared with quarters with a low SCC at drying off and quarters with a negative culture for major pathogens at drying off. For quarters that were culture-positive for major pathogens at drying off, a trend for a higher risk on CM was also found. Selective DCT, not using DCT in cows that had a low SCC at the last milk recording before drying off, significantly increased the incidence rate of CM and SCC. The decrease in antibiotic use by drying off quarters without DCT was not compensated by an increase in antibiotic use for treating CM. Total antibiotic use related to mastitis was reduced by 85% in these quarters.

Start-up and operating costs for artisan cheese companies - Corrected Proof
Andrea Bouma, Catherine A. Durham, Lisbeth Meunier-Goddik

ABSTRACT: Lack of valid economic data for artisan cheese making is a serious impediment to developing a realistic business plan and obtaining financing. The objective of this study was to determine approximate start-up and operating costs for an artisan cheese company. In addition, values are provided for the required size of processing and aging facilities associated with specific production volumes. Following in-depth interviews with existing artisan cheese makers, an economic model was developed to predict costs based on input variables such as production volume, production frequency, cheese types, milk types and cost, labor expenses, and financing. Estimated values for start-up cost for processing and aging facility ranged from $267,248 to $623,874 for annual production volumes of 3,402 kg (7,500 lb) and 27,216 kg (60,000 lb), respectively. First-year production costs ranged from $65,245 to $620,094 for the above-mentioned production volumes. It is likely that high start-up and operating costs remain a significant entry barrier for artisan cheese entrepreneurs.

Monitoring the bulk milk antibody response to bovine viral diarrhea in dairy herds vaccinated with inactivated vaccines - Corrected Proof
A.M. Gonzalez, I. Arnaiz, C. Eiras, F. Camino, M.L. Sanjuán, E. Yus, F.J. Diéguez

ABSTRACT: This study was designed to determine long-term responses in dairy herds after vaccination with 1 of 3 inactivated bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) vaccines with regard to antibodies against p80 protein in bulk tank milk samples, as detected by ELISA. In the present study, 29 dairy herds were vaccinated with Bovilis BVD (MSD Animal Health, Milton Keynes, UK), 11 with Hiprabovis Balance (Laboratorios Hipra, Amer, Spain), and 9 with Pregsure BVD (Zoetis, Florham Park, NJ). In these herds, bulk tank milk samples were collected and examined at the time of the first vaccination and every 6 mo during a 3-yr period. Samples were analyzed with a commercial ELISA test for the p80 protein of BVDV. The results demonstrated that vaccination affected the level of antibodies against p80. Hence, vaccination status should be taken into consideration when interpreting bulk tank milk antibody tests.

Short communication: Intestinal digestibility of amino acids in fluid- and particle-associated rumen bacteria determined using a precision-fed cecectomized rooster bioassay - Corrected Proof
A.C. Fonseca, S.M. Fredin, L.F. Ferraretto, C.M. Parsons, P.L. Utterback, R.D. Shaver

ABSTRACT: Microbial protein represents the majority of metabolizable protein absorbed by ruminant animals. Enhanced understanding of the AA digestibility of rumen microbes will improve estimates of metabolizable protein. The objective of this experiment was to determine the digestibility of AA in fluid- (FAB) and particle-associated bacteria (PAB) using the precision-fed cecectomized rooster bioassay. Bacteria were isolated from 4 ruminally cannulated lactating Holstein cows by differential centrifugation, including particle suspension in 0.1% Tween-80 for increased removal of PAB from ruminal digesta. Samples of FAB and PAB were fed to 9 cecectomized roosters to determine standardized digestibility of AA. Total AA digestibility was 76.8 and 75.5% for FAB and PAB, respectively, but did not differ. Differences existed in AA digestibilities within bacterial type when compared with the mean essential AA digestibility value. Compared with previous literature estimates of AA digestibility in microbes (mean = 76%; range = 57–87%) and relative to National Research Council estimates of total AA from rumen bacteria (80%), the precision-fed cecectomized rooster assay is an acceptable in vivo model to determine AA digestibility of rumen bacteria.

Short communication: Effects of molasses products on productivity and milk fatty acid profile of cows fed diets high in dried distillers grains with solubles - Corrected Proof
A. Siverson, C.F. Vargas-Rodriguez, B.J. Bradford

ABSTRACT: Previous research has shown that replacing up to 5% [of dietary dry matter (DM)] corn with cane molasses can partially alleviate milk fat depression when cows are fed high-concentrate, low-fiber rations containing dried distillers grains with solubles. The primary objective of this study was to determine whether dietary molasses alters milk fatty acid (FA) profile or improves solids-corrected milk yield in the context of a more typical lactation diet. A secondary objective was to assess production responses to increasing rumen-degradable protein supply when molasses was fed. Twelve primiparous and 28 multiparous Holstein cows (196 ± 39 d in milk) were blocked by parity and assigned to 4 pens. Pens were randomly allocated to treatment sequence in a 4 × 4 Latin square design, balanced for carryover effects. Treatment periods were 21 d, with 17 d for diet adaptation and 4 d for sample and data collection. Treatments were a control diet, providing 20% dried distillers grains with solubles (DM basis), 35% neutral detergent fiber, 30% starch, and 5% ether extract; a diet with 4.4% cane molasses replacing a portion of the corn grain; a diet with 2.9% molasses supplement containing 32% crude protein on a DM basis; and a diet with 5.8% (DM basis) molasses supplement. Animal-level data were analyzed using mixed models, including the fixed effect of treatment and the random effects of period, pen, period × pen interaction, and cow within pen to recognize pen as the experimental unit. Diets did not alter DM intake, milk production, milk component concentration or yield, feed efficiency (DM intake/milk yield), body weight change, or milk somatic cell count. Milk stearic acid content was increased by the diet containing 5.8% molasses supplement compared with the control diet and the diet containing 2.9% molasses supplement, but the magnitude of the effect was small (12.27, 11.75, and 11.69 ± 0.29 g/100 g of FA). Production data revealed a dramatic effect of period on milk fat content and yield. Milk fat content decreased during the course of the experiment (least squares means = 3.16, 2.81, 2.93, and 2.64 ± 0.09% for periods 1 to 4, respectively), as did milk fat yield (1.20, 1.03, 0.98, and 0.79 ± 0.05 kg/d). Exchanging molasses-based products for corn at 2.9 to 5.8% of dietary DM did not influence productivity and had minute effects on milk FA profile. The limited responses in this study may have been influenced by dietary unsaturated FA content or the advancing stage of lactation of cows in the study.

Early warnings from automatic milk yield monitoring with online synergistic control - Corrected Proof
T. Huybrechts, K. Mertens, J. De Baerdemaeker, B. De Ketelaere, W. Saeys

ABSTRACT: Sensors play a crucial role in the future of dairy farming. Modern dairy farms today are equipped with many different sensors for milk yield, body weight, activity, and even milk composition. The challenge, however, is to translate signals from these sensors into relevant information for the farmer. Because the measured values for an individual cow show nonstationary behavior, the concepts of statistical process control, which are commonly used in industry, cannot be used directly. The synergistic control concept overcomes this problem by on-line (real-time) modeling of the process and application of statistical process control to the residuals between the measured and modeled values. In this study, the synergistic control concept was developed and tested for early detection of anomalies in dairy cows based on detection of shifts in milk yield. Compared with the combination of visual observation and milk conductivity measurements, the developed strategy had a sensitivity of 63% for detecting clinical mastitis. Consequently, this technique could have added value on many farms, as it extracts practical information out of inexpensive data that are already available. As it can be easily extended to other measured parameters, the technique shows potential for early detection of other nutrition and health problems.

Effects of hydroxy trace minerals on oxidative metabolism, cytological endometritis, and performance of transition dairy cows - Corrected Proof
T. Yasui, C.M. Ryan, R.O. Gilbert, K.R. Perryman, T.R. Overton

ABSTRACT: Multiparous Holstein cows (n = 60) were used to determine effects of supplementing hydroxy forms of Zn, Cu, and Mn compared with 2 other common supplementation strategies on oxidative metabolism, cytological endometritis, and performance of transition cows. After a 1-wk pretreatment period, cows were assigned randomly to 1 of 3 dietary treatments from 21 d before expected calving through 84 d postcalving. Dietary treatments administered by daily top-dressing included (1) inorganic sulfate forms of Zn, Cu, and Mn (ITM); (2) a blend (75:25) of sulfates and organic complexes of Zn, Cu, and Mn (ITM/OTM); and (3) hydroxy trace minerals (HTM) of Zn, Cu, and Mn. The resulting dietary concentrations of supplemental Zn, Cu, and Mn were similar among treatments and averaged 40, 10, and 27 mg/kg, respectively, before calving and 59, 15, and 40 mg/kg, respectively, after calving. Total concentrations of Zn, Cu, and Mn averaged 80, 16, and 62 mg/kg during the prepartum period and 102, 23, and 75 mg/kg, respectively, during the postpartum period. Overall, effects of treatment on milk yield and milk composition were not significant. Cows fed HTM during the prepartum period had higher body weight (BW) than those fed ITM during the prepartum period and had higher BW during the postpartum period than those fed the other treatments; however, BW change, body condition score, and body condition score change were not affected by treatment. Plasma total antioxidant capacity was lower in cows fed HTM than ITM but was not different from cows fed ITM/OTM. Cows fed HTM tended to have lower concentrations of plasma thiobarbituric acid reactive substances than those fed ITM during the whole study period, but plasma thiobarbituric acid reactive substances were not different between HTM and ITM/OTM. Plasma haptoglobin was lower in cows fed HTM than ITM/OTM at 1 wk postpartum. Endometrial cytology 7 d postcalving and cytological endometritis as assessed on 1 d between 40 and 60 d postcalving was not affected by treatment. In conclusion, supplementation with HTM sources of Zn, Cu, and Mn modulated plasma variables related to oxidative metabolism compared with supplementation with ITM; however, HTM and ITM/OTM resulted in similar responses. Furthermore, the source of trace minerals did not affect performance or uterine health in this experiment.

Effect of a high-palmitic acid fat supplement on milk production and apparent total-tract digestibility in high- and low-milk yield dairy cows - Corrected Proof
D.E. Rico, Y. Ying, K.J. Harvatine

ABSTRACT: The effect of a high-palmitic acid fat supplement was tested in 12 high-producing (mean = 42.1 kg/d) and 12 low-producing (mean = 28.9 kg/d) cows arranged in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design. Experimental periods were 21 d, with 18 d of diet adaptation and 3 d of sample collection. Treatments were (1) control (no supplemental fat), (2) high-palmitic acid (PA) supplement (84% C16:0), and (3) Ca salts of palm fatty acid (FA) supplement (Ca-FA). The PA supplement had no effect on milk production, but decreased dry matter intake by 7 and 9% relative to the control in high- and low-producing cows, respectively, and increased feed efficiency by 8.5% in high-producing cows compared with the control. Milk fat concentration and yield were not affected by PA relative to the control in high- or low-producing cows, although PA increased the yield of milk 16-C FA by more than 85 g/d relative to the control. The Ca-FA decreased milk fat concentration compared with PA in high-, but not in low-producing cows. In agreement, Ca-FA dramatically increased milk fat concentration of trans-10 C18:1 and trans-10,cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid (>300%) compared with PA in high-producing cows, but not in low-producing cows. No effect of treatment on milk protein concentration or yield was detected. The PA supplement also increased 16-C FA apparent digestibility by over 10% and increased total FA digestibility compared with the control in high- and low-producing cows. During short-term feeding, palmitic acid supplementation did not increase milk or milk fat yield; however, it was efficiently absorbed, increased feed efficiency, and increased milk 16-C FA yield, while minimizing alterations in ruminal biohydrogenation commonly observed for other unsaturated fat supplements. Longer-term experiments will be necessary to determine the effects on energy balance and changes in body reserves.

Effects of ethyl-3-nitrooxy propionate and 3-nitrooxypropanol on ruminal fermentation, microbial abundance, and methane emissions in sheep - Corrected Proof
G. Martínez-Fernández, L. Abecia, A. Arco, G. Cantalapiedra-Hijar, A.I. Martín-García, E. Molina-Alcaide, M. Kindermann, S. Duval, D.R. Yáñez-Ruiz

ABSTRACT: The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of feeding ethyl-3-nitrooxy propionate (E3NP) and 3-nitrooxypropanol (3NP), 2 recently developed compounds with potential antimethanogenic activity, in vitro and in vivo in nonlactating sheep on ruminal methane production, fermentation pattern, the abundance of major microbial groups, and feed degradability. Three experiments were conducted, 1 in vitro and 2 in vivo. The in vitro batch culture trial (experiment 1) tested 2 doses of E3NP and 3NP (40 and 80 µL/L), which showed a substantial reduction of methane production (up to 95%) without affecting concentration of volatile fatty acids (VFA). The 2 in vivo trials were conducted over 16 d (experiment 2) and 30 d (experiment 3) to study their effects in sheep. In experiment 2, 6 adult nonpregnant sheep, with permanent rumen cannula and fed alfalfa hay and oats (60:40), were treated with E3NP at 2 doses (50 and 500 mg/animal per day). After 7, 14, and 15 d of treatment, methane emissions were recorded in respiration chambers and rumen fluid samples were collected for VFA analysis and quantification of bacterial, protozoal, and archaeal numbers by real-time PCR. Methane production decreased by 29% compared with the control with the higher dose of E3NP on d 14 to 15. A decrease in the acetate:propionate ratio was observed without detrimental effects on dry matter intake. In experiment 3, 9 adult nonpregnant sheep, with permanent rumen cannula and fed with alfalfa hay and oats (60:40), were treated with E3NP or 3NP at one dose (100 mg/animal per day) over 30 d. On d 14 and d 29 to 30, methane emissions were recorded in respiration chambers. Rumen fluid samples were collected on d 29 and 30 for VFA analysis and quantification of bacterial, protozoal, and archaeal numbers by real-time PCR. In addition, on d 22 and 23, samples of oats and alfalfa hay were incubated in the rumen of sheep to determine dry matter ruminal degradation over 24 and 48 h, respectively; no effect was observed (78.6, 78.3, and 78.8% of alfalfa and 74.2, 74.0, and 70.6% of oats in control, E3NP, and 3NP groups, respectively). A reduction in methane production was observed for both additives at d 14 and d 29 to 30. In both treatments, the acetate:propionate ratio was significantly decreased. Likewise, total concentrations of the analyzed microbial groups in the rumen showed no difference among treatments and doses for both experiments. Both tested compounds showed promise as methane inhibitors in the rumen, with no detrimental effects on fermentation or intake, which would need to be confirmed in lactating animals.

A stochastic frontier approach to study the relationship between gastrointestinal nematode infections and technical efficiency of dairy farms - Corrected Proof
Mariska van der Voort, Jef Van Meensel, Ludwig Lauwers, Jozef Vercruysse, Guido Van Huylenbroeck, Johannes Charlier

ABSTRACT: The impact of gastrointestinal (GI) nematode infections in dairy farming has traditionally been assessed using partial productivity indicators. But such approaches ignore the impact of infection on the performance of the whole farm. In this study, efficiency analysis was used to study the association of the GI nematode Ostertagia ostertagi on the technical efficiency of dairy farms. Five years of accountancy data were linked to GI nematode infection data gained from a longitudinal parasitic monitoring campaign. The level of exposure to GI nematodes was based on bulk-tank milk ELISA tests, which measure the antibodies to O. ostertagi and was expressed as an optical density ratio (ODR). Two unbalanced data panels were created for the period 2006 to 2010. The first data panel contained 198 observations from the Belgian Farm Accountancy Data Network (Brussels, Belgium) and the second contained 622 observations from the Boerenbond Flemish farmers' union (Leuven, Belgium) accountancy system (Tiber Farm Accounting System). We used the stochastic frontier analysis approach and defined inefficiency effect models specified with the Cobb-Douglas and transcendental logarithmic (Translog) functional form. To assess the efficiency scores, milk production was considered as the main output variable. Six input variables were used: concentrates, roughage, pasture, number of dairy cows, animal health costs, and labor. The ODR of each individual farm served as an explanatory variable of inefficiency. The results showed that an increase in the level of exposure to GI nematodes was associated with a decrease in technical efficiency. Exposure to GI nematodes constrains the productivity of pasture, health, and labor but does not cause inefficiency in the use of concentrates, roughage, and dairy cows. Lowering the level of infection in the interquartile range (0.271 ODR) was associated with an average milk production increase of 27, 19, and 9 L/cow per year for Farm Accountancy Data Network farms and 63, 49, and 23 L/cow per year for Tiber Farm Accounting System farms in the low- (0–90), medium- (90–95), and high- (95–99) efficiency score groups, respectively. The potential milk increase associated with reducing the level of infection was higher for highly efficient farms (6.7% of the total possible milk increase when becoming fully technically efficient) than for less efficient farms (3.8% of the total possible milk increase when becoming fully technically efficient).

Comparison of modelling techniques for milk-production forecasting - Corrected Proof
M.D. Murphy, M.J. O'Mahony, S. Shalloo, P. French, J. Upton

ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to assess the suitability of 3 different modeling techniques for the prediction of total daily herd milk yield from a herd of 140 lactating pasture-based dairy cows over varying forecast horizons. A nonlinear auto-regressive model with exogenous input, a static artificial neural network, and a multiple linear regression model were developed using 3 yr of historical milk-production data. The models predicted the total daily herd milk yield over a full season using a 305-d forecast horizon and 50-, 30-, and 10-d moving piecewise horizons to test the accuracy of the models over long- and short-term periods. All 3 models predicted the daily production levels for a full lactation of 305 d with a percentage root mean square error (RMSE) of ≤12.03%. However, the nonlinear auto-regressive model with exogenous input was capable of increasing its prediction accuracy as the horizon was shortened from 305 to 50, 30, and 10 d [RMSE (%) = 8.59, 8.1, 6.77, 5.84], whereas the static artificial neural network [RMSE (%) = 12.03, 12.15, 11.74, 10.7] and the multiple linear regression model [RMSE (%) = 10.62, 10.68, 10.62, 10.54] were not able to reduce their forecast error over the same horizons to the same extent. For this particular application the nonlinear auto-regressive model with exogenous input can be presented as a more accurate alternative to conventional regression modeling techniques, especially for short-term milk-yield predictions.

Effect of 2 herbal intramammary products on milk quantity and quality compared with conventional and no dry cow therapy - Corrected Proof
K.A.E. Mullen, K.L. Anderson, S.P. Washburn

ABSTRACT: Dry cow therapy, administered at the end of lactation, is aimed at eliminating current and preventing future intramammary (IMM) bacterial infections and typically involves intramammary administration of antibiotics. Certified organic dairies in the United States are restricted from using antibiotics and must consider an alternative therapy or no dry cow therapy. The current study compared 2 herbal products to conventional dry cow therapy and no treatment for a total of 5 treatments over 2 trials. Trial 1 was conducted over 3 yr on 1 research farm and trial 2 included 4 commercial farms plus the research herd over 2 yr. Treatments included (1) a conventional IMM antibiotic and internal teat sealant (penicillin-dihydrostreptomycin and bismuth subnitrate; CON); (2) an herbal IMM product purported to act as a teat sealant (Cinnatube, New AgriTech Enterprises, Locke, NY; CIN); (3) an herbal IMM product (Phyto-Mast, Bovinity Health LLC, Narvon, PA; P-M); (4) Phyto-Mast and Cinnatube (PC); or (5) no dry cow therapy (NT). Each treatment group was balanced by breed, lactation number, due date, herd, and year. However, the CON treatment was used only in the research herd because of the intent to avoid antibiotic usage on the other 4 farms. Comparisons among treatments included the difference between pre- and posttreatment 305-d mature equivalent milk production (trial 1), somatic cell score change from dry-off to freshening at the cow and quarter levels (trials 1 and 2), and milk microbiology change over the dry period (trial 2). We detected no significant differences among treatments for milk yield differences between the lactation following treatment and the lactation preceding treatment. Changes in somatic cell score from one lactation to the next also did not differ significantly among treatments in either trial. Cure rates were not significantly different among treatments; only 19.6% of all quarters were infected at dry off. The proportion of quarters with new infections at 3 to 5 d postcalving did not significantly differ among treatments, except between CIN and NT. Percentages (least squares means ± standard error) of quarters with new infections were 24 ± 21% for CON, 15 ± 7% for CIN, 30 ± 10% for P-M, 32 ± 11% for PC, and 35 ± 11% for NT. The efficacy of the herbal products was similar to that of conventional therapy, and the herbal products had no apparent adverse effects.

Lactoferrin protects against chemical-induced rat liver fibrosis by inhibiting stellate cell activation - Corrected Proof
Yu-Tang Tung, Ting-Yu Tang, Hsiao-Ling Chen, Shang-Hsun Yang, Kowit-Yu Chong, Winston T.K. Cheng, Chuan-Mu Chen

ABSTRACT: Liver diseases, which can be caused by alcohol abuse, chemical intoxication, viral hepatitis infection, and autoimmune disorders, are a significant health issue because they can develop into liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Lactoferrin (LF), a siderophilic protein with 2 iron-binding sites, has been demonstrated to possess a multitude of biological functions, including antiinflammation, anticancer, and antimicrobial effects, as well as immunomodulatory-enhancing functions. In the current study, we induced hepatotoxicity in rats with dimethylnitrosamine (DMN) to establish a situation that would enable us to evaluate the hepatoprotective effects of LF against hepatic injury. Our results showed that DMN-induced hepatic pathological damage significantly decreased the body weight and liver index, increased the mRNA and protein levels of collagen α-1(I) and α-smooth muscle actin, and increased the hydroxyproline content. However, treatment with LF significantly increased body weight and liver index, decreased the mRNA and protein levels of collagen α-1(I) and α-smooth muscle actin, and suppressed the hydroxyproline content when compared with the DMN-treated group. Liver histopathology also showed that low-dose LF (100 mg/kg of body weight) or high-dose LF (300 mg/kg of body weight) could significantly reduce the incidences of liver lesions induced by DMN. These results suggest that the LF exhibits potent hepatoprotection against DMN-induced liver damage in rats and that the hepatoprotective effects of LF may be due to the inhibition of collagen production and to stellate cell activation.

Denaverine hydrochloride and carbetocin increased welfare during and after parturition and enhanced subsequent fertility in cattle - Corrected Proof
Robert Zobel, Juhani Taponen

ABSTRACT: The objectives of the current study were to investigate the influence of denaverine hydrochloride and carbetocin on softening and dilatation of the birth canal, the need for assistance during parturition, calf mortality, retention of fetal membranes, endometritis, and subsequent fertility. Altogether 200 animals (100 cows and 100 heifers) of the Simmental breed were divided into 2 groups: treatment (n = 100) and control (n = 100). Animals in the treatment group received denaverine hydrochloride and carbetocin (a maximum of twice for each, depending on the progression of labor) during delivery over a maximum of 4 waiting periods (30 min each), whereas control animals experienced the same waiting periods but received no treatment. The treatment protocol had a positive influence on the ease of calving and postpartum reproductive health. The treatment increased the number of animals with the birth canal dilated by more than 25 cm, and halved the need for any assistance at parturition. In addition, treatment decreased the occurrence of difficult calving, the need for episiotomy, the appearance of birth canal lesions, and clinical endometritis. The treatment protocol had an effect throughout the entire puerperal period, as treated animals conceived with fewer artificial inseminations (1.3 vs. 1.6 artificial inseminations/pregnancy) and sooner (67 vs. 78 d open) compared with control animals. Denaverine hydrochloride and carbetocin administered in combination during parturition affected the progression and ease of calving, and thus the welfare of cows in labor and subsequently. However, further studies are needed to confirm the findings and to establish best practices.

International genetic evaluations for feed intake in dairy cattle through the collation of data from multiple sources - Corrected Proof
D.P. Berry, M.P. Coffey, J.E. Pryce, Y. de Haas, P. Løvendahl, N. Krattenmacher, J.J. Crowley, Z. Wang, D. Spurlock, K. Weigel, K. Macdonald, R.F. Veerkamp

ABSTRACT: Feed represents a large proportion of the variable costs in dairy production systems. The omission of feed intake measures explicitly from national dairy cow breeding objectives is predominantly due to a lack of information from which to make selection decisions. However, individual cow feed intake data are available in different countries, mostly from research or nucleus herds. None of these data sets are sufficiently large enough on their own to generate accurate genetic evaluations. In the current study, we collate data from 10 populations in 9 countries and estimate genetic parameters for dry matter intake (DMI). A total of 224,174 test-day records from 10,068 parity 1 to 5 records of 6,957 cows were available, as well as records from 1,784 growing heifers. Random regression models were fit to the lactating cow test-day records and predicted feed intake at 70 d postcalving was extracted from these fitted profiles. The random regression model included a fixed polynomial regression for each lactation separately, as well as herd-year-season of calving and experimental treatment as fixed effects; random effects fit in the model included individual animal deviation from the fixed regression for each parity as well as mean herd-specific deviations from the fixed regression. Predicted DMI at 70 d postcalving was used as the phenotype for the subsequent genetic analyses undertaken using an animal repeatability model. Heritability estimates of predicted cow feed intake 70 d postcalving was 0.34 across the entire data set and varied, within population, from 0.08 to 0.52. Repeatability of feed intake across lactations was 0.66. Heritability of feed intake in the growing heifers was 0.20 to 0.34 in the 2 populations with heifer data. The genetic correlation between feed intake in lactating cows and growing heifers was 0.67. A combined pedigree and genomic relationship matrix was used to improve linkages between populations for the estimation of genetic correlations of DMI in lactating cows; genotype information was available on 5,429 of the animals. Populations were categorized as North America, grazing, other low input, and high input European Union. Albeit associated with large standard errors, genetic correlation estimates for DMI between populations varied from 0.14 to 0.84 but were stronger (0.76 to 0.84) between the populations representative of high-input production systems. Genetic correlations with the grazing populations were weak to moderate, varying from 0.14 to 0.57. Genetic evaluations for DMI can be undertaken using data collated from international populations; however, genotype-by-environment interactions with grazing production systems need to be considered.

Rheological and structural properties of differently acidified and renneted milk gels - Corrected Proof
X.T. Liu, H. Zhang, F. Wang, J. Luo, H.Y. Guo, F.Z. Ren

ABSTRACT: In this study we assessed the rheological and structural properties of differently acidified and renneted milk gels by controlling pH value and renneting extent. Skim milk were exactly renneted to 4 extents (20, 35, 55, and 74%) and then direct acidified to the desired pH (4.8, 5.0, 5.2, 5.5, 5.8, and 6.2), respectively. Rheological properties were assessed by dynamic rheological measurements, structural properties were studied by spontaneous whey separation and confocal laser scanning micrograph, and protein interactions were studied by dissociation test. Results showed that minimally renneted milk samples (20 and 35%) formed weak gels with low storage modulus, and the acidification range within which gels could form was narrow (pH ≤5.2). Highly renneted milk samples formed more gels with high storage modulus. The results of this study revealed that acidification determined the structural properties of highly renneted milk gels. As pH increased from 5.0 to 6.2, highly renneted milk gels had lower loss tangent, decreased spontaneous syneresis, and smaller pores. For both the low and high rennetings, divalent calcium bonds contributed less at low pH than at high pH. In conclusion, renneting increased the pH range suitable for gel formation; acidification determined the spontaneous syneresis and microstructure of highly renneted milk gels.

A field study of the behavioral and physiological effects of varying amounts of shade for lactating cows at pasture - Corrected Proof
K.E. Schütz, N.R. Cox, C.B. Tucker

ABSTRACT: Shade reduces the negative effects of heat load, but little is known about how much is required for efficient cooling in commercial settings. The effect of the amount of shade on 8 Holstein-Friesian herds was studied for 2 consecutive summers (mean temperature: 23°C) on 6 commercial, pasture-based dairy farms. Farms varied in the amount of natural shade provided (range: 0 to 15.6 m2 shade/cow). Time spent in shade, near water, eating, ruminating, lying, and standing were recorded between 1000 and 1530 h in 31 shaded and 11 unshaded paddocks using 20-min instantaneous scan observations of 15 focal cows/herd. Respiration rate and panting score (0 to 4.5) was recorded for focal animals once per hour. The total numbers of cows in shade, near water, and with panting scores ≥2 were recorded every 30 min. Cows without shade spent 4% more time lying than cows with shade (standard error of the difference, SED = 1.9%). A larger proportion of the herd had panting scores ≥2 when no shade was available (6 vs. 2% of the herd, SED = 1.2%), and respiration rates were higher by 8 breaths/min in cows without shade (SED = 4.7 breaths/min). Under the conditions tested, the maximum proportion of the herd that was observed using the shade increased by 3.1% for every 1-m2 increase in shade size [standard error (SE) = 1.51%], and all cows were first seen simultaneously using shade when 2 m2/cow was provided. For every 1-m2 increase in shade, 0.3% fewer cows had panting score ≥2 (SE = 0.12%). We observed no significant relationships between the amount of shade available and any other variables. Although additional work is required to make specific recommendations, these results indicate that providing more shade allowed a higher proportion of animals to use this resource and reduced respiratory signs of heat load.

Short communication: Prediction of intake in dairy cows under tropical conditions - Corrected Proof
M.C. Souza, A.S. Oliveira, C.V. Araújo, A.F. Brito, R.M.A. Teixeira, E.H.B.K. Moares, D.C. Moura

ABSTRACT: A meta-analysis was conducted to develop a model for predicting dry matter intake (DMI) in dairy cows under the tropical conditions of Brazil and to assess its adequacy compared with 5 currently available DMI prediction models: Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC); National Research Council (NRC); Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS; version 6); and 2 other Brazilian models. The data set was created using 457 observations (n = 1,655 cows) from 100 studies, and it was randomly divided into 2 subsets for statistical analysis. The first subset was used to develop a DMI prediction equation (60 studies; 309 treatment means) and the second subset was used to assess the adequacy of DMI predictive models (40 studies; 148 treatment means). The DMI prediction model proposed in the current study was developed using a nonlinear mixed model analysis after reparameterizing the NRC equation but including study as a random effect in the model. Body weight (mean = 540 ± 57.6 kg), 4% fat-corrected milk (mean = 21.3 ± 7.7 kg/d), and days in milk (mean = 110 ± 62 d) were used as independent variables in the model. The adequacy of the DMI prediction models was evaluated based on coefficient of determination, mean square prediction error (MSPE), root MSPE (RMSPE), and concordance correlation coefficient (CCC). The observed DMI obtained from the data set used to evaluate the prediction models averaged 17.6 ± 3.2 kg/d. The following model was proposed: DMI (kg/d) = [0.4762 (±0.0358) × 4% fat-corrected milk + 0.07219 (±0.00605) × body weight0.75] × (1 – e−0.03202 (±0.00615) × [days in milk + 24.9576 (±5.909)]). This model explained 93.0% of the variation in DMI, predicting it with the lowest mean bias (0.11 kg/d) and RMSPE (4.9% of the observed DMI) and the highest precision [correlation coefficient estimate (ρ) = 0.97] and accuracy [bias correction factor (Cb) = 0.99]. The NRC model prediction equation explained 92.0% of the variation in DMI and had the second lowest mean bias (0.42 kg/d) and RMSPE (5.8% of the observed DMI), as well as the second highest precision (ρ = 0.94) and accuracy (Cb = 0.98). The CNCPS and AFRC DMI prediction models explained 93.0 and 85.0% of the variation in DMI but underpredicted DMI by 1.8 and 1.4 kg/d, respectively. These 2 models (CNCPS and AFRC) resulted, respectively, in RMSPE of 11.3 and 10.7% of the observed DMI, with moderate to high precision (ρ = 0.81 and 0.82) and accuracy (Cb = 0.84 and 0.89). The remaining 2 models resulted in the poorest results, underpredicting DMI by 2.3 and 1.9 kg/d, with RMSPE of 22.8 and 14.9% of the observed DMI and moderate to low precision (ρ = 0.49 and 0.76) and accuracy (Cb = 0.81 and 0.86). The new model derived from the current meta-analytical approach provided the best accuracy and precision for predicting DMI in lactating dairy cows under Brazilian conditions.

Association between polyunsaturated fatty acid-derived oxylipid biosynthesis and leukocyte inflammatory marker expression in periparturient dairy cows - Corrected Proof
W. Raphael, L. Halbert, G.A. Contreras, L.M. Sordillo

ABSTRACT: Peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes from periparturient cows can have exacerbated inflammatory responses that contribute to disease incidence and severity. Oxylipids derived from the oxygenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) can regulate the magnitude and duration of inflammation. Although PUFA substrate for oxylipid biosynthesis in leukocytes is known to change across the periparturient period, the plasma oxylipid profile and how this profile relates to leukocyte inflammatory phenotype is not clear. The objective of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between the profile of pro- and antiinflammatory plasma oxylipids and the inflammatory phenotype of peripheral blood leukocytes during the periparturient period. Seven multiparous Holsteins were sampled from the prepartum period through peak lactation. Plasma oxylipids were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, peripheral leukocyte mRNA expression was measured by quantitative PCR, and PUFA content of peripheral blood mononuclear cells was measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Concentrations of several hydroxyl products of linoleic and arachidonic acid changed over time. Linoleic acid and arachidonic acid concentrations in leukocytes increased during early lactation, suggesting that substrate availability for hydroxyoctadecadienoic and hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid biosynthesis may influence the oxylipid profile. Leukocyte mRNA expressions of IL-12B, IL-1B, inducible nitric oxide synthase 2, and cyclooxygenase 2 were correlated with several plasma oxylipids. These are the first observations linking leukocyte inflammatory gene responses to shifts in oxylipid biosynthesis in periparturient dairy cows.

Rumination time around calving: An early signal to detect cows at greater risk of disease - Corrected Proof
L. Calamari, N. Soriani, G. Panella, F. Petrera, A. Minuti, E. Trevisi

ABSTRACT: The main objective of this experiment was to evaluate the use of rumination time (RT) during the peripartum period as a tool for early disease detection. The study was carried out in an experimental freestall barn and involved 23 Italian Friesian cows (9 primiparous and 14 multiparous). The RT was continuously recorded by using an automatic system (Hr-Tag, SCR Engineers Ltd., Netanya, Israel), and data were summarized in 2-h intervals. Blood samples were collected from 30 d before calving to 42 d in milk (DIM) to assess biochemical indicators related to energy, protein, and mineral metabolism, as well as markers of inflammation and some enzyme activities. The liver functionality index, which includes some negative acute-phase proteins and related parameters (albumin, cholesterol, and bilirubin), was used to evaluate the severity of inflammatory conditions occurring around calving. The cows were retrospectively categorized according to RT observed between 3 and 6 DIM into those with the lowest (L) and highest (H) RT. The average RT before calving (−20 to −2 d) was 479 min/d (range 264 to 599), reached a minimum value at calving (30% of RT before calving), and was nearly stable after 15 DIM (on average 452 min/d). Milk yield in early lactation (on average 26.8 kg/d) was positively correlated with RT (r = 0.33). After calving, compared with H cows, the L cows had higher values of haptoglobin (0.61 and 0.34 g/L at 10 DIM in L and H, respectively) for a longer time, had a greater increase in total bilirubin (9.5 and 5.7 μmol/L at 5 DIM in L and H), had greater reductions of albumin (31.2 and 33.5 g/L at 10 DIM in L and H) and paraoxonase (54 and 76 U/mL at 10 DIM in L and H), and had a slower increase of total cholesterol (2.7 and 3.2 mmol/L at 20 DIM in L and H). Furthermore, a lower average value of liver functionality index was observed in L (−6.97) compared with H (−1.91) cows. These results suggest that severe inflammation around parturition is associated with a slower increase of RT after calving. Furthermore, more than 90% of the cows in the L group had clinical diseases in early lactation compared with 42% of the H cows. Overall, our results demonstrate the utility of monitoring RT around calving, and in particular during the first week of lactation, as a way to identify in a timely fashion those cows at a greater risk of developing a disease in early lactation.

Preventive effect of fermented Maillard reaction products from milk proteins in cardiovascular health - Corrected Proof
N.S. Oh, H.S. Kwon, H.A. Lee, J.Y. Joung, J.Y. Lee, K.B. Lee, Y.K. Shin, S.C. Baick, M.R. Park, Y. Kim, K.W. Lee, S.H. Kim

ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the dual effect of Maillard reaction and fermentation on the preventive cardiovascular effects of milk proteins. Maillard reaction products (MRP) were prepared from the reaction between milk proteins, such as whey protein concentrates (WPC) and sodium caseinate (SC), and lactose. The hydrolysates of MRP were obtained from fermentation by lactic acid bacteria (LAB; i.e., Lactobacillus gasseri H10, L. gasseri H11, Lactobacillus fermentum H4, and L. fermentum H9, where human-isolated strains were designated H1 to H15), which had excellent proteolytic and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activities (>20%). The antioxidant activity of MRP was greater than that of intact proteins in assays of the reaction with 2,2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt and trivalent ferric ions; moreover, the effect of MRP was synergistically improved by fermentation. The Maillard reaction dramatically increased the level of antithrombotic activity and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) inhibitory effect of milk proteins, but did not change the level of activity for micellar cholesterol solubility. Furthermore, specific biological properties were enhanced by fermentation. Lactobacillus gasseri H11 demonstrated the greatest activity for thrombin and HMGR inhibition in Maillard-reacted WPC, by 42 and 33%, respectively, whereas hydrolysates of Maillard-reacted SC fermented by L. fermentum H9 demonstrated the highest reduction rate for micellar cholesterol solubility, at 52%. In addition, the small compounds that were likely released by fermentation of MRP were identified by size-exclusion chromatography. Therefore, MRP and hydrolysates of fermented MRP could be used to reduce cardiovascular risks.

Evaluation of the Minnesota Easy Culture System II Bi-Plate and Tri-Plate for identification of common mastitis pathogens in milk - Corrected Proof
E. Royster, S. Godden, D. Goulart, A. Dahlke, P. Rapnicki, J. Timmerman

ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to validate use of the Minnesota Easy Culture System II Bi-Plate and Tri-Plate (University of Minnesota Laboratory for Udder Health, St. Paul) to identify common mastitis pathogens in milk. A total of 283 quarter and composite milk samples submitted to the University of Minnesota Laboratory for Udder Health during the spring of 2010 were cultured simultaneously using 3 methods: standard laboratory culture (reference method) and the Minnesota Easy Culture System II Bi-Plate and Tri-Plate methods. Bi-Plate and Tri-Plate cultures were incubated for 18 to 24 h and interpreted by 2 independent, untrained readers within 5 h of each other. An experienced technician completed the standard laboratory culture. For each sample, all 3 study personnel recorded the culture result (yes/no) for each of the following diagnostic categories: no bacterial growth (NG), mixed (2 organisms), contaminated (3 or more organisms), gram-positive (GP), gram-negative (GN), Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Streptococcus uberis, Enterococcus spp., Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp., and other. For each category, the prevalence, sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and predictive values of a positive and negative test were calculated, and the agreement between readers and between each reader and the laboratory was assessed. Specificity, overall accuracy, and negative predictive values were generally high (>80%) for the Bi-Plate and Tri-Plate for each category. Sensitivity and positive predictive values were intermediate (>60%) or high (>80%) for the broad categories of NG, GP, GN, Staphylococcus spp. and Streptococcus spp., and for Staph. aureus, but were generally lower (<60%) for other more specific categories. Similarly, interreader agreement (kappa value) was moderate to substantial (40–80%) for the broad categories of NG, GP, GN, Staphylococcus spp. and Streptococcus spp., and for Staph. aureus and E. coli, but was lower for other categories. The Tri-Plate had a higher sensitivity, accuracy, and negative predictive value for Streptococcus spp., and higher interreader agreement for some of the more specific categories. Our conclusion was that Bi-Plate and Tri-Plate results will be most reliable when used to classify infections in broad diagnostic categories such NG, GP, or GN. The Bi-Plate and Tri-Plate will have intermediate ability to identify infections as being caused by Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., or Staph. aureus.

Effects of supplemental chromium propionate and rumen-protected amino acids on productivity, diet digestibility, and energy balance of peak-lactation dairy cattle - Corrected Proof
C.F. Vargas-Rodriguez, K. Yuan, E.C. Titgemeyer, L.K. Mamedova, K.E. Griswold, B.J. Bradford

ABSTRACT: Chromium (Cr) feeding in early lactation increased milk production in some studies, but responses to dietary Cr during peak lactation have not been evaluated. Furthermore, interactions of essential amino acids (AA) and Cr have not been explored. Our objective was to evaluate responses to CrPr (KemTRACE chromium propionate 0.04%, Kemin Industries Inc., Des Moines, IA) and rumen-protected Lys (LysiPEARL, Kemin Industries Inc.) and Met (MetiPEARL, Kemin Industries Inc.) and their interaction in peak-lactation cows. Forty-eight individually fed Holstein cows (21 primiparous, 27 multiparous, 38 ± 15 d in milk) were stratified by calving date in 12 blocks and randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatments within block. Treatments were control, CrPr (8 mg/d of Cr), RPLM (10 g/d of Lys and 5 g/d of Met, intestinally available), or CrPr plus RPLM. Treatments were premixed with ground corn and top-dressed at 200 g/d for 35 d. Diets consisted of corn silage, alfalfa hay, and concentrates, providing approximately 17% crude protein, 31% neutral detergent fiber, and 40% nonfiber carbohydrates. Dry matter intake (DMI) significantly increased with the inclusion of CrPr (22.2 vs. 20.8 ± 0.67 kg/d), and energy-corrected milk (ECM) yield tended to increase. In addition, CrPr increased milk protein yield and tended to increase DMI in primiparous cows but not in multiparous cows. A CrPr × week interaction was detected for milk lactose content, which was increased by CrPr during wk 1 only (4.99 vs. 4.88 ± 0.036%). As a proportion of plasma AA, lysine increased and methionine tended to increase in response to RPLM, but the inclusion of RPLM decreased N efficiency (milk protein N:N intake). Digestible energy intake, gross energy digestibility, and energy balance were not affected by treatments. We observed no treatment effects on feed efficiency or changes in body weight or body condition score. In summary, feeding CrPr increased DMI and tended to increase ECM in cows fed for 5 wk near peak lactation, with primiparous cows showing greater responses in DMI and milk protein yield than multiparous cows.

Effects of supplemental chromium propionate and rumen-protected amino acids on nutrient metabolism, neutrophil activation, and adipocyte size in dairy cows during peak lactation - Corrected Proof
K. Yuan, C.F. Vargas-Rodriguez, L.K. Mamedova, M.B. Muckey, M.A. Vaughn, D.D. Burnett, J.M. Gonzalez, E.C. Titgemeyer, K.E. Griswold, B.J. Bradford

ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of chromium propionate (CrPr), rumen-protected lysine and methionine (RPLM), or both on metabolism, neutrophil function, and adipocyte size in lactating dairy cows (38 ± 15 d in milk). Forty-eight individually fed Holstein cows (21 primiparous, 27 multiparous) were stratified by calving date in 12 blocks and randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatments within block. Treatments were control, CrPr (8 mg/d of Cr, KemTRACE brand chromium propionate 0.04%, Kemin Industries Inc., Des Moines, IA), RPLM (10 g/d lysine and 5 g/d methionine intestinally available, from LysiPEARL and MetiPEARL, Kemin Industries Inc.), or CrPr plus RPLM. Treatments were fed for 35 d; blood plasma samples were collected on d 21 and 35 of treatment, and blood neutrophils were isolated from 24 cows for analysis of tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin 1β (IL-1β) transcript abundance in the basal state and after 12 h of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) activation. Tailhead subcutaneous adipose tissue samples were collected on d 35 for measurement of adipocyte size. Plasma glucose, nonesterified fatty acids, and glucagon concentrations were unaffected by treatments, whereas plasma insulin concentration was increased by RPLM. Basal TNFα transcript abundance in neutrophils was not affected by treatment, but basal IL-1β transcript abundance was decreased by RPLM and tended to be increased by CrPr. After LPS activation, CrPr increased neutrophil TNFα transcript abundance. In addition, RPLM × parity interactions were detected for both TNFα and IL-1β abundance after LPS activation, reflecting enhanced responses in primiparous cows and attenuated responses in multiparous cows supplemented with RPLM. Adipocyte size was not affected by treatment. Supplemental CrPr and RPLM had minimal effects on metabolism when fed for 35 d near peak lactation but may modulate innate immune function in lactating dairy cows.

Insulin stimulates glucose uptake via a PI3-K-linked signaling pathway in bovine mammary epithelial cells - Corrected Proof
K. Zhao, H.-Y. Liu, M.-M. Zhou, F.-Q. Zhao, J.-X. Liu

ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of insulin on glucose uptake in lactating bovine mammary epithelial cells (BMEC). Primary BMEC were cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium/nutrient mixture F-12 and treated with different levels of insulin (0, 5, 50, and 500 ng/mL) for 48 h after a 24-h starvation without fetal calf serum. Compared with the control cells (0 ng of insulin/mL), cell proliferation was enhanced by insulin treatment at all tested levels. Insulin significantly increased glucose uptake at a concentration of 500 ng/mL. In addition, the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide (0.5 mg/mL) counteracted the insulin-elevated glucose uptake, thereby suggesting that newly synthesized transporter protein might take part in the insulin-induced glucose uptake. Furthermore, pretreatment of the cells with SB203580, an inhibitor of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, did not influence the insulin-induced glucose uptake, but LY294002, a specific inhibitor of phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase, significantly reduced the insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. These results indicated that insulin-induced glucose uptake in BMEC may involve the phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase- but not mitogen-activated protein kinase-mediated signaling pathways.

Relationships between fertility and postpartum changes in body condition and body weight in lactating dairy cows - Corrected Proof
P.D. Carvalho, A.H. Souza, M.C. Amundson, K.S. Hackbart, M.J. Fuenzalida, M.M. Herlihy, H. Ayres, A.R. Dresch, L.M. Vieira, J.N. Guenther, R.R. Grummer, P.M. Fricke, R.D. Shaver, M.C. Wiltbank

ABSTRACT: The relationship between energy status and fertility in dairy cattle was retrospectively analyzed by comparing fertility with body condition score (BCS) near artificial insemination (AI; experiment 1), early postpartum changes in BCS (experiment 2), and postpartum changes in body weight (BW; experiment 3). To reduce the effect of cyclicity status, all cows were synchronized with Double-Ovsynch protocol before timed AI. In experiment 1, BCS of lactating dairy cows (n = 1,103) was evaluated near AI. Most cows (93%) were cycling at initiation of the breeding Ovsynch protocol (first GnRH injection). A lower percentage pregnant to AI (P/AI) was found in cows with lower (≤2.50) versus higher (≥2.75) BCS (40.4 vs. 49.2%). In experiment 2, lactating dairy cows on 2 commercial dairies (n = 1,887) were divided by BCS change from calving until the third week postpartum. Overall, P/AI at 70-d pregnancy diagnosis differed dramatically by BCS change and was least for cows that lost BCS, intermediate for cows that maintained BCS, and greatest for cows that gained BCS [22.8% (180/789), 36.0% (243/675), and 78.3% (331/423), respectively]. Surprisingly, a difference existed between farms with BCS change dramatically affecting P/AI on one farm and no effect on the other farm. In experiment 3, lactating dairy cows (n = 71) had BW measured weekly from the first to ninth week postpartum and then had superovulation induced using a modified Double-Ovsynch protocol. Cows were divided into quartiles (Q) by percentage of BW change (Q1 = least change; Q4 = most change) from calving until the third week postpartum. No effect was detected of quartile on number of ovulations, total embryos collected, or percentage of oocytes that were fertilized; however, the percentage of fertilized oocytes that were transferable embryos was greater for cows in Q1, Q2, and Q3 than Q4 (83.8, 75.2, 82.6, and 53.2%, respectively). In addition, percentage of degenerated embryos was least for cows in Q1, Q2, and Q3 and greatest for Q4 (9.6, 14.5, 12.6, and 35.2% respectively). In conclusion, for cows synchronized with a Double-Ovsynch protocol, an effect of low BCS (≤2.50) near AI on fertility was detected, but change in BCS during the first 3 wk postpartum had a more profound effect on P/AI to first timed AI. This effect could be partially explained by the reduction in embryo quality and increase in degenerate embryos by d 7 after AI in cows that lost more BW from the first to third week postpartum.

Random regression test-day model for clinical mastitis: Genetic parameters, model comparison, and correlations with indicator traits - Corrected Proof
E. Gernand, S. König

ABSTRACT: The objective was to study genetic (co)variance components for binary clinical mastitis (CM), test-day protein yield, and udder health indicator traits [test-day somatic cell score (SCS) and type traits of the udder composite] in the course of lactation with random regression models (RRM). The study used a data set from selected 15 large-scale contract herds including 26,651 Holstein cows. Test-day production and CM data were recorded from 2007 to 2012 and comprised parities 1 to 3. A longitudinal CM data structure was generated by assigning CM records to adjacent official test dates. Bivariate threshold-linear RRM were applied to estimate genetic (co)variance components between longitudinal binary CM (0 = healthy; 1 = diseased) and longitudinal Gaussian distributed protein yield and SCS test-day data. Heritabilities for liability to CM (heritability ~0.15 from 0 to 305 d after calving) were slightly higher than for SCS for corresponding days in milk (DIM) in the course of lactation. Daily genetic correlations between CM and SCS were moderate to high (genetic correlation ~0.70), but substantially decreased at the very end of lactation. Genetic correlations between CM at different test days were close to 1 for adjacent test days, but were close to zero for test days far apart. Daily genetic correlations between CM and protein yield were low to moderate. For identical DIM (e.g., DIM 20, 160, and 300), genetic correlations were −0.03, 0.11, and 0.18, respectively, and disproved pronounced genetic antagonisms between udder health and productivity. Correlations between estimated breeding values (EBV) for CM from the RRM and official EBV for linear type traits of the udder composite, including EBV from 74 influential sires (sires with >60 daughters), were −0.31 for front teat placement, −0.01 for rear teat placement, −0.31 for fore udder attachment, −0.32 for udder depth, and −0.08 for teat length. Estimated breeding values for CM from the RRM were compared with EBV from a multiple-trait model and with EBV from a repeatability model. For test days covering an identical time span and on a lactation level, correlations between EBV from RRM, multiple-trait model, and repeatability model were close to 1. Most relevant results suggest the routine application of threshold RRM to binary CM to (1) allow selection of genetically superior sires for distinct stages of lactation and (2) achieve higher selection response in CM compared with selection strategies based on indicator type traits or based on the indicator-trait SCS.

Short communication: Investigation of aflatoxin M1 levels in infant follow-on milks and infant formulas sold in the markets of Ankara, Turkey - Corrected Proof
B. Er, B. Demirhan, G. Yentür

ABSTRACT: Aflatoxins are fungal toxins known to be carcinogenic and are classified as food contaminants. This study was performed to investigate aflatoxin (AF) M1 levels in baby foods sold in Ankara (Turkey) and to evaluate the obtained results according to the Turkish Food Codex (TFC). For this purpose, a total of 84 baby food samples (50 follow-on milks and 34 infant formulas) were obtained from different markets in Ankara and the presence of AFM1 in the samples was analyzed by ELISA. In 32 (38.1%) of 84 infant food samples, the presence of AFM1 was detected in concentrations ranging between 0.0055 and 0.0201 µg/kg. The mean level (±standard error) of AFM1 was found to be 0.0089 ± 0.0006 µg/kg in positive infant follow-on milks. Aflatoxin M1 was detected in only 1 infant formula sample (2.94%) at a concentration of 0.0061 µg/kg. The extrapolated levels of AFB1 contamination in feedstuffs were calculated based on levels of AFM1 in baby food samples. The data estimating AFB1 contamination in dairy cattle feedstuff indicate that contamination may range from 0.3410 to 1.2580 µg/kg, with the mean level (±standard error) being 0.5499 ± 0.0385 µg/kg, which is lower than the level set by the TFC and European Union regulations (5 µg/kg). According to the obtained results, the levels of AFM1 in analyzed samples were within the allowed limit (0.025 µg/kg) set in the TFC. Low levels of AFM1 in infant follow-on milks and infant formula samples obtained during the study do not pose a health risk to infants.

Performance of dairy cows fed silage and grain produced from second-generation insect-protected (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn (MON 89034), compared with parental line corn or reference corn - Corrected Proof
E. Castillo-Lopez, K.J. Clark, H.A. Paz, H.A. Ramirez Ramirez, T.H. Klusmeyer, G.F. Hartnell, P.J. Kononoff

ABSTRACT: Corn grain and corn silage are major feed components in lactating dairy cow rations. Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that produces a protein that is toxic to lepidopteran insects that may damage plant tissues and reduce corn quality and yields. During each of the four 28-d periods, cows were offered 1 of 4 rations in which the corn grain and silage originated from different corn hybrids: a nontransgenic corn control (from hybrid DKC63-78; Monsanto Co., St. Louis, MO), a B.t. test substance corn (MON 89034 in hybrid DKC63-78; Monsanto Co.), and 2 commercial nontransgenic reference (Ref) hybrids: DKC61-42 (Ref 1) and DKC62-30 (Ref 2; Monsanto Co.). Sixteen multiparous Holstein cows averaging 110 ± 21 d in milk and weighing 684 ± 62.3 kg were blocked by days in milk and milk yield and randomly assigned to one of four 4 × 4 Latin squares. Diets were formulated to contain 36.4% corn silage and 16.3% corn grain. Dry matter intake was greater for cows consuming B.t. corn (26.6 ± 0.59 kg/d) compared with the control, Ref 1, and Ref 2 corn diets (25.4, 25.0, and 25.6 ± 0.59 kg/d, respectively). Milk yield, fat yield, and percentage of fat (36.8 ± 0.98 kg/d, 1.22 ± 0.05 kg/d, and 3.3 ± 0.10%), milk protein yield and percentage of protein (1.11 ± 0.03 kg/d and 3.01 ± 0.05%), milk urea nitrogen concentration (14.01 ± 0.49 mg/dL), and 3.5% fat-corrected milk yield (35.7 ± 1.07 kg/d) were not different across treatments. The results from this study show that lactating dairy cows that consume B.t. corn (MON 89034) do not differ from lactating dairy cows that consume nontransgenic corn in milk yield, 3.5% fat-corrected milk per unit of dry matter intake, or milk components.

Short communication: Immunoglobulin variation in quarter-milked colostrum - Corrected Proof
Craig R. Baumrucker, Andrea Stark, Olga Wellnitz, Chad Dechow, Rupert M. Bruckmaier

ABSTRACT: Whereas whole first-milked colostrum IgG1 variation is documented, the IgG1 difference between the quarter mammary glands of dairy animals is unknown. First colostrum was quarter-collected from healthy udders of 8 multiparous dairy cows, all within 3 h of parturition. Weight of colostrum produced by individual quarters was determined and a sample of each was frozen for subsequent analysis. Immunoglobulin G1 concentration (mg/mL) was measured by ELISA and total mass (g) was calculated. Standard addition method was used to overcome colostrum matrix effects and validate the standard ELISA measures. Analysis of the data showed that cow and quarter (cow) were significantly different in both concentration and total mass per quarter. Analysis of the mean IgG1 concentration of the front and rear quarters showed that this was not different, but the large variation in individual quarters confounds the analysis. This quarter difference finding indicates that each mammary gland develops a different capacity to accumulate precolostrum IgG1, whereas the circulating hormone concentrations that induce colostrogenesis reach the 4 glands similarly. This finding also shows that the variation in quarter colostrum production is a contributor to the vast variation in first milking colostrum IgG1 content. Finally, the data suggests other factors, such as locally acting autocrine or paracrine, epigenetic, or stochasticity, in gene regulation mechanisms may impinge on colostrogenesis capacity.

Manageable risk factors associated with bacterial and coliform counts in unpasteurized bulk milk in Flemish dairy herds - Corrected Proof
S. Piepers, P. Zrimšek, P. Passchyn, S. De Vliegher

ABSTRACT: Associations between herd management practices and both bacterial counts (BC) and coliform counts (CC) from 254 and 242 dairy herds in Flanders (Belgium), respectively, were studied. Data were analyzed using multivariable, multilevel linear regression analysis, allowing variance components analyses. Both BC and CC fluctuated throughout the year, although the milk quality parameters followed an opposite pattern. Bacterial count values decreased with each increase of the cleaning frequency of the cubicles (once per week, once per day, twice per day, or more than twice per day) between January and March. Herds with a conventional milking parlor had substantially lower BC than herds where the cows were milked using an automatic milking system. Lower BC were observed when the milking parlor was equipped with an automatic cluster removal system, when premilking teat disinfection was applied, when the dry cows were supplemented with a mix of minerals and vitamins, and when the teats were prepared either first wet and dried or via an automatic milking system. Milking cows with a high-pipeline milking parlor setup or with an automatic milking system was associated with substantially higher CC values. Herds where prepartum heifers were often treated with antimicrobials before calving had a lower CC than farms where heifers were either not or only rarely treated. Most variation in BC and CC resided at the herd level rather than at the observation level, indicating that management is important in the control of both BC and CC. Still, only a small proportion of the total variance was explained by factors capturing information related to the milking, herd health, and dry cow management, which suggests that the bacteriological milk quality and, in particular, CC is primarily driven by other factors than the ones included in this study.

Overfeeding energy upregulates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ-controlled adipogenic and lipolytic gene networks but does not affect proinflammatory markers in visceral and subcutaneous adipose depots of Holstein cows - Corrected Proof
P. Ji, J.K. Drackley, M.J. Khan, J.J. Loor

ABSTRACT: Our objective was to determine the effects of overfeeding energy on gene expression in mesenteric (MAT), omental (OAT), and subcutaneous (SAT) adipose tissue (AT) from nonpregnant and nonlactating Holstein cows. Eighteen cows were randomly assigned to either a low energy [LE, net energy for lactation (NEL) = 1.35 Mcal/kg of dry matter (DM)] or high energy (HE, NEL = 1.62 Mcal/kg of DM) diets for 8 wk. Cows were then euthanized and subsamples of MAT, OAT, and SAT were harvested for transcript profiling via quantitative PCR of 34 genes involved in lipogenesis, triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis, lipolysis, lactate signaling, transcription regulation, and inflammation. The interaction of dietary energy and AT depot was only significant for LPL, which indicated a consistent response among the 3 sites. The expression of key genes related to de novo fatty acid synthesis (FASN) and desaturation (SCD) was upregulated by HE compared with LE. Other genes associated with those processes, such as ACLY, ACACA, ELOVL6, FABP4, GPAM, and LPIN1, were numerically upregulated by HE. The expression of lipolytic (PNPLA2 and ABHD5) genes was upregulated and the antilypolytic lactate receptor HCAR1 was downregulated with HE compared with LE. The putative transcription regulator THRSP was upregulated and the transcription regulator PPARG tended to be upregulated by HE, whereas SREBF1 was downregulated. Among adipocytokines, HE tended to upregulate the expression of CCL2, whereas IL6R was downregulated. Overall, results indicated that overfeeding energy may increase AT mass at least in part by stimulating transcription of the network encompassing key genes associated with de novo synthesis. In response to energy overfeeding, the expression of PPARG rather than SREBF1 was closely associated with most adipogenic or lipogenic genes. However, the transcriptional activity of these regulators needs to be verified to confirm their role in the regulation of adipogenesis or lipogenesis in bovine AT. Overfeeding energy also may predispose cows to greater lipolytic potential by stimulating expression of TAG hydrolysis genes while inhibiting signaling via hydroxycarboxylic acid receptor (HCAR1), which is a novel antilipolytic regulator. Our results do not support an overt inflammatory response in adipose tissues in response to an 8-wk energy overfeeding.

Inflammation- and lipid metabolism-related gene network expression in visceral and subcutaneous adipose depots of Holstein cows - Corrected Proof
P. Ji, J.K. Drackley, M.J. Khan, J.J. Loor

ABSTRACT: This experiment was conducted to determine the effects of energy overfeeding on gene expression in mesenteric (MAT), omental (OAT), and subcutaneous (SAT) adipose tissue (AT) from nonpregnant and nonlactating Holstein cows. Eighteen cows were randomly assigned to either a controlled energy [LE, net energy for lactation (NEL) = 1.35 Mcal/kg of dry matter (DM)] or moderate energy-overfed group (HE, NEL = 1.62 Mcal/kg of DM) for 8 wk. Cows were then euthanized and subsamples of MAT, OAT, and SAT were harvested for transcript profiling via quantitative PCR of 34 genes involved in lipogenesis, triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis, lactate signaling, hepatokine signaling, lipolysis, transcription regulation, and inflammation. The interaction of dietary energy and adipose depot was not significant for any gene analyzed except LPL, which indicated a consistent response to diet. Expression of ACACA and FASN was greater in SAT than MAT, whereas expression of SCD and ADFP were greatest in SAT, intermediate in OAT, and lowest in MAT. However, the 2 visceral depots had greater expression of THRSP, ACLY, LPL, FABP4, GPAM, and LPIN1 compared with SAT. The transcription factor SREBF1 was more highly expressed in MAT and SAT than in OAT. The expression of PNPLA2 was greater in visceral AT sites than in SAT, but other lipolysis-related genes were not differentially expressed among AT depots. Visceral AT depots had greater expression of LEP, ADIPOQ, and SAA3 compared with SAT. Moreover, MAT had greater expression than SAT of proinflammatory cytokines (IL1B and IL6), IL6 receptor (IL6R), and chemokines (CCL2 and CCL5). However, TNF expression was greatest in SAT, lowest in OAT, and intermediate in MAT. Overall, results indicated that visceral AT might be more active in uptake of preformed long-chain fatty acids than SAT, whereas de novo fatty acid synthesis could make a greater contribution to the intracellular pool of fatty acids in SAT than in visceral AT. The visceral AT compared with SAT seem to have a greater capacity for expression (and potentially for secretion) of proinflammatory cytokines; thus, excessive accumulation of visceral lipid due to a long-term overfeeding energy may be detrimental to liver function and overall health of dairy cows, particularly during the transition period.

Effects of breed and casein genetic variants on protein profile in milk from Swedish Red, Danish Holstein, and Danish Jersey cows - Corrected Proof
F. Gustavsson, A.J. Buitenhuis, M. Johansson, H.P. Bertelsen, M. Glantz, N.A. Poulsen, H. Lindmark Månsson, H. Stålhammar, L.B. Larsen, C. Bendixen, M. Paulsson, A. Andrén

ABSTRACT: In selecting cows for higher milk yields and milk quality, it is important to understand how these traits are affected by the bovine genome. The major milk proteins exhibit genetic polymorphism and these genetic variants can serve as markers for milk composition, milk production traits, and technological properties of milk. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between casein (CN) genetic variants and detailed protein composition in Swedish and Danish dairy milk. Milk and DNA samples were collected from approximately 400 individual cows each of 3 Scandinavian dairy breeds: Swedish Red (SR), Danish Holstein (DH), and Danish Jersey (DJ). The protein profile with relative concentrations of α-lactalbumin, β-lactoglobulin, and αS1-, αS2-, κ-, and β-CN was determined for each milk sample using capillary zone electrophoresis. The genetic variants of the αS1- (CSN1S1), β- (CSN2), and κ-CN (CSN3) genes for each cow were determined using TaqMan SNP genotyping assays (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA). Univariate statistical models were used to evaluate the effects of composite genetic variants, αS1-β-κ-CN, on the protein profile. The 3 studied Scandinavian breeds differed from each other regarding CN genotypes, with DH and SR having similar genotype frequencies, whereas the genotype frequencies in DJ differed from the other 2 breeds. The similarities in genotype frequencies of SR and DH and differences compared with DJ were also seen in milk production traits, gross milk composition, and protein profile. Frequencies of the most common composite αS1-β-κ-CN genotype BB/A2A2/AA were 30% in DH and 15% in SR, and cows that had this genotype gave milk with lower relative concentrations of κ- and β-CN and higher relative concentrations of αS-CN, than the majority of the other composite genotypes in SR and DH. The effect of composite genotypes on relative concentrations of the milk proteins was not as pronounced in DJ. The present work suggests that a higher frequency of BB/A1A2/AB, together with a decrease in BB/A2A2/AA, could have positive effects on DH and SR milk regarding, for example, the processing of cheese.

Effects of d-α-tocopherol and dietary energy on growth and health of preruminant dairy calves - Corrected Proof
L.A. Krueger, D.C. Beitz, K. Onda, M. Osman, M.R. O'Neil, S. Lei, F.H. Wattoo, R.L. Stuart, H.D. Tyler, B. Nonnecke

ABSTRACT: To observe the effects of supplemental dietary d-α-tocopherol in relation to dietary energy on growth and immune status in dairy calves, 32 newborn Holstein bull calves were assigned to 1 of 4 treatments for 5 wk in a 2 × 2 factorial, randomized complete block, split-plot design. Calves received moderate growth (MG) or low growth (LG) all-milk dietary treatments, formulated to support daily gains of 0.5 or 0.25 kg/d, respectively, per the dietary energy recommendation for milk-fed calves according to the National Research Council's Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. Calves in both groups were either injected i.m. with Vital E-A+D (injectable solution of vitamins E, A, and D) on d 1 and supplemented with Emcelle Tocopherol (micellized vitamin E) via milk daily (MG-S and LG-S), or were not supplemented (MG-C and LG-C) during the study period. Total weight gain of MG calves was greater than that of LG calves and tended to be greater in MG-S calves than in MG-C calves. Calves receiving vitamin supplementation demonstrated greater concentrations of plasma α-tocopherol, retinol, and 25-(OH)-vitamin D than did control calves, whereas MG calves demonstrated a lower concentration of plasma α-tocopherol than did LG calves. The apparent increased utilization of α-tocopherol by MG calves was accompanied by a rise in serum haptoglobin, a positive acute-phase protein and indicator of inflammation, especially in MG-C calves. Serum amyoloid A, also a positive acute-phase protein, was not different among groups, but was elevated from baseline in all groups during wk 1 through 3. Plasma IgG1 concentrations were higher in MG-S and LG-S calves than in their nonsupplemented dietary counterparts, whereas plasma IgG2, IgA, and IgM concentrations were not different among groups. In summary, dietary supplementation of d-α-tocopherol improved plasma α-tocopherol status and tended to increase growth in calves fed for 0.5 kg of average daily gain. Vitamin supplementation ameliorated the rise of serum haptoglobin associated with acute inflammation in MG calves, and may have improved passive transfer of maternal antibody. These results indicate a role for α-tocopherol in prevention of proinflammatory state associated with greater dietary energy and onset of infectious disease.

Subclinical mastitis in goats is associated with upregulation of nitric oxide-derived oxidative stress that causes reduction of milk antioxidative properties and impairment of its quality - Corrected Proof
Nissim Silanikove, Uzi Merin, Fira Shapiro, Gabriel Leitner

ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to verify the existence of a nitric oxide (NO) cycle in goat milk and to study how changes in it affect milk composition during subclinical mastitis. Fifteen lactating dairy goats in which one udder-half was free from bacterial infection and the contra-lateral one was naturally infected with various species of coagulase-negative staphylococci were used. In comparison to uninfected glands, subclinical mastitis was associated with a decrease in milk yield, lactose concentration, and curd yield and an increase in nitrite and nitrate concentrations and with measurements reflecting increased formation of NO-derived free-radical nitrogen dioxide. The occurrence of NO cycling in goat milk was largely confirmed. The increase in the NO-derived stress during subclinical infection was not associated with significant increase in oxidatively modified substances, 3-nitrotyrosine, and carbonyls on proteins, but with increased levels of peroxides on fat. However, the relatively modest nitrosative stress in subclinically infected glands was associated with significant reduction in total antioxidant capacity and vitamin C levels in milk. We concluded that subclinical mastitis in goats caused by coagulase-negative staphylococci imposes negative changes in milk yield, milk quality for cheese production, and negatively affects the nutritional value of milk as food. Thus, subclinical mastitis in goats should be considered as a serious economic burden both by farmers and by the dairy industry.

Effects of 3-nitrooxypropanol on methane emission, digestion, and energy and nitrogen balance of lactating dairy cows - Corrected Proof
C.K. Reynolds, D.J. Humphries, P. Kirton, M. Kindermann, S. Duval, W. Steinberg

ABSTRACT: The objective was to measure effects of 3-nitrooxypropanol (3NP) on methane production of lactating dairy cows and any associated changes in digestion and energy and N metabolism. Six Holstein-Friesian dairy cows in mid-lactation were fed twice daily a total mixed ration with maize silage as the primary forage source. Cows received 1 of 3 treatments using an experimental design based on two 3 × 3 Latin squares with 5-wk periods. Treatments were a control placebo or 500 or 2,500 mg/d of 3NP delivered directly into the rumen, via the rumen fistula, in equal doses before each feeding. Measurements of methane production and energy and N balance were obtained during wk 5 of each period using respiration calorimeters and digestion trials. Measurements of rumen pH (48 h) and postprandial volatile fatty acid and ammonia concentrations were made at the end of wk 4. Daily methane production was reduced by 3NP, but the effects were not dose dependent (reductions of 6.6 and 9.8% for 500 and 2,500 mg/d, respectively). Dosing 3NP had a transitory inhibitory effect on methane production, which may have been due to the product leaving the rumen in liquid outflow or through absorption or metabolism. Changes in rumen concentrations of volatile fatty acids indicated that the pattern of rumen fermentation was affected by both doses of the product, with a decrease in acetate:propionate ratio observed, but that acetate production was inhibited by the higher dose. Dry matter, organic matter, acid detergent fiber, N, and energy digestibility were reduced at the higher dose of the product. The decrease in digestible energy supply was not completely countered by the decrease in methane excretion such that metabolizable energy supply, metabolizable energy concentration of the diet, and net energy balance (milk plus tissue energy) were reduced by the highest dose of 3NP. Similarly, the decrease in N digestibility at the higher dose of the product was associated with a decrease in body N balance that was not observed for the lower dose. Milk yield and milk fat concentration and fatty acid composition were not affected but milk protein concentration was greater for the higher dose of 3NP. Twice-daily rumen dosing of 3NP reduced methane production by lactating dairy cows, but the dose of 2,500 mg/d reduced rumen acetate concentration, diet digestibility, and energy supply. Further research is warranted to determine the optimal dose and delivery method of the product.

Inducing ovulation early postpartum influences uterine health and fertility in dairy cows - Corrected Proof
J.H.J. Bittar, P.J. Pinedo, C.A. Risco, J.E.P. Santos, W.W. Thatcher, K.E. Hencken, S. Croyle, M. Gobikrushanth, C.C. Barbosa, A. Vieira-Neto, K.N. Galvão

ABSTRACT: The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effect of GnRH early postpartum on induction of ovulation, uterine health, and fertility in dairy cows. Holstein cows without a corpus luteum (CL) at 17 ± 3 DIM were assigned randomly to receive i.m. GnRH (n = 245) at 17 ± 3 and 20 ± 3 DIM or remain as controls (n = 245). Ovaries were scanned by ultrasonography twice weekly totaling 4 examinations. Ovulation was characterized by the appearance of a CL ≥20 mm at any ultrasound or CL <20 mm in 2 consecutive examinations. Clinical and cytological endometritis were diagnosed at 35 DIM. Compared with control, GnRH increased ovulation up to 3.5 d after the last treatment (78.7 vs. 45.0%) and did not affect the prevalence of clinical endometritis (23.9 vs. 18.6%) or cytological endometritis (30.9 vs. 32.8%). Prevalence of clinical endometritis increased in cows that had calving problems (32.6 vs. 15.9%) and metritis (40.6 vs. 15.8%). Metritis increased prevalence of cytological endometritis (50.7 vs. 23.5%). Treatment with GnRH did not affect pregnancy per artificial insemination at 32 (37.6 vs. 38.6%) or 74 d after artificial insemination (35.0 vs. 31.5%), but reduced pregnancy loss (6.8 vs. 18.1%). No overall effect of GnRH treatment on hazard of pregnancy was observed; however, an interaction between GnRH treatment and ovulation showed that GnRH-treated cows that ovulated had increased hazard of pregnancy by 300 DIM compared with GnRH-treated and control cows that did not ovulate (hazard ratio = 2.0 and 1.3, respectively), but similar to control cows that ovulated (hazard ratio = 1.1). Gonadotropin-releasing hormone early postpartum induced ovulation without affecting uterine health, but failed to improve pregnancy per artificial insemination or time to pregnancy, although it reduced pregnancy loss.

Grazing season and forage type influence goat milk composition and rennet coagulation properties - Corrected Proof
R.A. Inglingstad, H. Steinshamn, B.S. Dagnachew, B. Valenti, A. Criscione, E.O. Rukke, T.G. Devold, S.B. Skeie, G.E. Vegarud

ABSTRACT: Two different types of pasture (cultivated and rangeland) and 2 different hay qualities (high and low quality) were examined for their effects on goat milk composition and rennet coagulation properties. Furthermore, the effect of dietary treatments in both the early and late grazing season was studied. As lactation stage is known to influence milk composition, the goats in the early and late grazing season were in the same lactation stage at the start of the experiment. The milk composition was influenced both by dietary treatment and season. Milk from goats on pasture was superior to those on hay by containing a higher content of protein and casein, and the goats on cultivated pasture had the highest milk yield. Casein composition was significantly influenced by forage treatment. Goats grazing on cultivated pasture had higher contents of αs1-casein and also of κ-casein compared with the other treatments, whereas goats grazing on rangeland had the highest content of β-casein. Factors such as milk yield, casein micelle size, αs2-casein, and calcium content were reduced in late compared with early season. More favorable rennet coagulation properties were achieved in milk from the early grazing season, with shorter firming time and higher curd firmness compared with milk from the late grazing season, but the firming time and curd firmness were not prominently influenced by forage treatment. The content of αs2-casein and calcium in the milk affected the firming time and the curd firmness positively. The influence of season and forage treatment on especially milk yield, casein content, and rennet coagulation properties is of economic importance for both the dairy industry and goat milk farmers.

Short communication: Norbixin and bixin partitioning in Cheddar cheese and whey - Corrected Proof
T.J. Smith, X.E. Li, M.A. Drake

ABSTRACT: The Cheddar cheese colorant annatto is present in whey and must be removed by bleaching. Chemical bleaching negatively affects the flavor of dried whey ingredients, which has established a need for a better understanding of the primary colorant in annatto, norbixin, along with cheese color alternatives. The objective of this study was to determine norbixin partitioning in cheese and whey from full-fat and fat-free Cheddar cheese and to determine the viability of bixin, the nonpolar form of norbixin, as an alternative Cheddar cheese colorant. Full-fat and fat-free Cheddar cheeses and wheys were manufactured from colored pasteurized milk. Three norbixin (4% wt/vol) levels (7.5, 15, and 30 mL of annatto/454 kg of milk) were used for full-fat Cheddar cheese manufacture, and 1 norbixin level was evaluated in fat-free Cheddar cheese (15 mL of annatto/454 kg of milk). For bixin incorporation, pasteurized whole milk was cooled to 55°C, and then 60 mL of bixin/454 kg of milk (3.8% wt/vol bixin) was added and the milk homogenized (single stage, 8 MPa). Milk with no colorant and milk with norbixin at 15 mL/454 kg of milk were processed analogously as controls. No difference was found between the norbixin partition levels of full-fat and fat-free cheese and whey (cheese mean: 79%, whey: 11.2%). In contrast to norbixin recovery (9.3% in whey, 80% in cheese), 1.3% of added bixin to cheese milk was recovered in the homogenized, unseparated cheese whey, concurrent with higher recoveries of bixin in cheese (94.5%). These results indicate that fat content has no effect on norbixin binding or entrapment in Cheddar cheese and that bixin may be a viable alternative colorant to norbixin in the dairy industry.

Effect of prepartum photoperiod and melatonin feeding on milk production and prolactin concentration in dairy heifers and cows - Corrected Proof
P. Lacasse, C.M. Vinet, D. Petitclerc

ABSTRACT: Holstein multiparous cows (n = 29) and primiparous heifers (n = 32) calving over a 1-yr period were subjected to photoperiod-melatonin treatments according to a 2 × 3 factorial design. Starting 8 wk before expected calving, all animals were subjected to 1 of the following treatments: 8 h of light and 16 h of dark (8L:16D), 16 h of light and 8 h of dark (16L:8D), or 16L:8D plus melatonin feeding (16L:8D-melatonin). Each day at 1355 h, the animals in the melatonin treatment received orally a gelatin capsule containing 25 mg of melatonin. The treatments ended at calving, when the animals were moved to the lactation barn; all animals were then subjected to about 16 h of light per day. At the beginning and end of the treatment period before calving, blood samples were taken from 6 heifers and 6 cows through a jugular cannula for 24 h at 30-min intervals to monitor serum melatonin and prolactin concentrations. Milk production in the heifers was not affected by the photoperiod treatments. Early-lactation milk production was higher in the cows exposed to the short-day photoperiod than in those exposed to a long-day photoperiod (16L:8D and 16L:8D-melatonin), with averages of 36.7 ± 0.9, 33.1 ± 0.8, and 34.1 ± 0.9 kg/d for 8L:16D, 16L:8D, and 16L:8D-melatonin, respectively. Photoperiod had no effect on late-lactation milk production in the cows. During lactation, the dry matter intake of heifers was not affected by the treatments, but dry matter intake of the cows exposed to a short-day photoperiod was greater than that of the cows exposed to a long-day photoperiod. Feed efficiency of heifers was improved by short-day photoperiod. During the treatment period, prolactin concentration was lower in the animals exposed to a short-day photoperiod than in those exposed to a long-day photoperiod, was lower with the 16L:8D-melatonin treatment than with the 16L:8D treatment, and tended to be lower with the 8L:16D treatment than with the 16L:8D-melatonin treatment, with averages of 3.5 ± 0.8, 9.9 ± 0.8, and 6.0 ± 0.8 ng/mL for 8L:16D, 16L:8D, and 16L:8D-melatonin, respectively. In early lactation, prolactin concentration was lower in the heifers exposed to the 16L:8D photoperiod during the dry period than in those exposed to the 8L:16D photoperiod or fed melatonin. In conclusion, a short-day photoperiod during the dry period transiently increases milk production of cows and the feed efficiency of heifers in the following lactation. However, melatonin cannot be used to mimic a short-day photoperiod during the dry period.

Agonists of the G protein-coupled receptor 109A-mediated pathway promote antilipolysis by reducing serine residue 563 phosphorylation of hormone-sensitive lipase in bovine adipose tissue explants - Corrected Proof
Á. Kenéz, L. Locher, J. Rehage, S. Dänicke, K. Huber

ABSTRACT: A balanced lipolytic regulation in adipose tissues based on fine-tuning of prolipolytic and antilipolytic pathways is of vital importance to maintain the metabolic health in dairy cows. Antilipolytic pathways, such as the G protein-coupled receptor 109A (GPR109A)-mediated pathway and the insulin signaling pathway in bovine adipose tissues may be involved in prohibiting excessive lipomobilization by reducing triglycerol hydrolysis. This study aimed to evaluate the in vitro antilipolytic potential of the mentioned pathways in bovine adipose tissue explants. Therefore, subcutaneous and retroperitoneal adipose tissue samples (approximately 100 mg) of German Holstein cows were treated for 90 min ex vivo with nicotinic acid (2, 8, or 32 μM), nicotinamide (2, 8, or 32 μM), β-hydroxybutyrate (0.2, 1, or 5 mM), or insulin (12 mU/L), with a concurrent lipolytic challenge provoked with 1 μM isoproterenol. Lipolytic and antilipolytic responses of the adipose tissues were assessed by measuring free glycerol and nonesterified fatty acid release. To identify molecular components of the investigated antilipolytic pathways, protein abundance of GPR109A and the extent of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) phosphorylation at serine residue 563 were detected by Western blotting. Treatment with nicotinic acid or β-hydroxybutyrate decreased the lipolytic response in adipose tissue explants and concurrently reduced the extent of HSL phosphorylation, but treatment with nicotinamide or insulin did not. Subcutaneous adipose tissue constitutively expressed more GPR109A protein, but no other depot-specific differences were observed. This study provides evidence that the GPR109A-mediated pathway is functionally existent in bovine adipose tissues, and confirms that HSL phosphorylation at serine residue 563 is also important in antilipolytic regulation in vitro. This antilipolytic pathway may be involved in a balanced lipid mobilization in the dairy cow.

Gastrointestinal tract size, total-tract digestibility, and rumen microflora in different dairy cow genotypes - Corrected Proof
M. Beecher, F. Buckley, S.M. Waters, T.M. Boland, D. Enriquez-Hidalgo, M.H. Deighton, M. O'Donovan, E. Lewis

ABSTRACT: The superior milk production efficiency of Jersey (JE) and Jersey × Holstein-Friesian (JE × HF) cows compared with Holstein-Friesian (HF) has been widely published. The biological differences among dairy cow genotypes, which could contribute to the milk production efficiency differences, have not been as widely studied, however. A series of component studies were conducted using cows sourced from a longer-term genotype comparison study (JE, JE × HF, and HF). The objectives were to (1) determine if differences exist among genotypes regarding gastrointestinal tract (GIT) weight, (2) assess and quantify whether the genotypes tested differ in their ability to digest perennial ryegrass, and (3) examine the relative abundance of specific rumen microbial populations potentially relating to feed digestibility. Over 3 yr, the GIT weight was obtained from 33 HF, 35 JE, and 27 JE × HF nonlactating cows postslaughter. During the dry period the cows were offered a perennial ryegrass silage diet at maintenance level. The unadjusted GIT weight was heavier for the HF than for JE and JE × HF. When expressed as a proportion of body weight (BW), JE and JE × HF had a heavier GIT weight than HF. In vivo digestibility was evaluated on 16 each of JE, JE × HF, and HF lactating dairy cows. Cows were individually stalled, allowing for the total collection of feces and were offered freshly cut grass twice daily. During this time, daily milk yield, BW, and dry matter intake (DMI) were greater for HF and JE × HF than for JE; milk fat and protein concentration ranked oppositely. Daily milk solids yield did not differ among the 3 genotypes. Intake capacity, expressed as DMI per BW, tended to be different among treatments, with JE having the greatest DMI per BW, HF the lowest, and JE × HF being intermediate. Production efficiency, expressed as milk solids per DMI, was higher for JE than HF and JE × HF. Digestive efficiency, expressed as digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, N, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber, was higher for JE than HF. In grazing cows (n = 15 per genotype) samples of rumen fluid, collected using a transesophageal sampling device, were analyzed to determine the relative abundance of rumen microbial populations of cellulolytic bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. These are critically important for fermentation of feed into short-chain fatty acids. A decrease was observed in the relative abundance of Ruminococcus flavefaciens in the JE rumen compared with HF and JE × HF. We can deduce from this study that the JE genotype has greater digestibility and a different rumen microbial population than HF. Jersey and JE × HF cows had a proportionally greater GIT weight than HF. These differences are likely to contribute to the production efficiency differences among genotypes previously reported.