Consequences of dietary energy source and energy level on energy balance, lactogenic hormones, and lactation curve characteristics of cows after a short or omitted dry period

R.J. van Hoeij*, J. Dijkstra, R.M. Bruckmaier, J.J. Gross, Theo J.G.M. Lam, G.J. Remmelink, B. Kemp, A.T.M. van Knegsel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Omitting the dry period (DP) generally reduces milk production in the subsequent lactation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary energy source—glucogenic (G) or lipogenic (L)—and energy level—standard (std) or low—on milk production; energy balance (EB); lactogenic hormones insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and growth hormone (GH); and lactation curve characteristics between wk 1 and 44 postpartum in cows after a 0-d or 30-d DP. Cows (n = 110) were assigned randomly to 3 transition treatments: a 30-d DP with a standard energy level required for expected milk yield [30-d DP(std)], a 0-d DP with the same energy level as cows with a 30-d DP [0-d DP(std)], and a 0-d DP with a low energy level [0-d DP(low)]. In wk 1 to 7, cows were fed the same basal ration but the level of concentrate increased to 6.7 kg/d for cows fed the low energy level and to 8.5 kg/d for cows fed the standard energy level in wk 4. From wk 8 postpartum onward, cows received a G ration (mainly consisting of corn silage and grass silage) or an L ration (mainly consisting of grass silage and sugar beet pulp) with the same energy level contrast (low or std) as in early lactation. Cows fed the G ration had greater milk, lactose, and protein yields, lower milk fat percentage, greater dry matter and energy intakes, and greater plasma IGF-1 concentration compared with cows fed the L ration. Dietary energy source did not affect EB or lactation curve characteristics. In cows with a 0-d DP, the reduced energy level decreased energy intake, EB, and weekly body weight gain, but did not affect milk production or lactation curve characteristics. A 30-d DP resulted in a greater total predicted lactation yield, initial milk yield after calving, peak milk yield, energy intake, energy output in milk, days to conception [only when compared with 0-d DP(low)], plasma GH concentration [only when compared with 0-d DP(std)], and decreased weekly body weight gain compared with a 0-d DP. A 30-d DP decreased both the increasing and the declining slope parameters of the lactation curve and the relative rate of decline in milk yield (indicating greater lactation persistency) compared with a 0-d DP, and decreased plasma insulin and IGF-1 concentration, and EB. In conclusion, feeding a G ration after wk 7 in milk improved energy intake and milk production, but did not affect EB compared with an L ration. For cows without a DP, a reduced dietary energy level did not affect milk production and lactation curve characteristics, but did decrease EB and weekly body weight gain. A 30-d DP increased milk yield and lactation persistency, but decreased milk fat and protein content, EB, and plasma insulin and IGF-1, compared with a 0-d DP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8544-8564
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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