Increasing the availability of glucogenic nutrients relative to lipogenic nutrients has been hypothesized to decrease the production of milk fat, to improve the energy balance (EB), and to decrease the incidence and severity of metabolic and reproductive disorders in dairy cows in early lactation. Therefore, our objective was to evaluate the effects of a glucogenic, lipogenic, or mixed diet on EB, plasma metabolites and metabolic hormones, liver triacylglycerides (TAG), and reproductive variables in high-producing dairy cows in early lactation. Cows (n = 114) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 diets and were fed either a mainly lipogenic diet, a mainly glucogenic diet, or a mixture of both diets (50:50 dry matter basis) from wk 3 before the expected calving date until 9 wk postpartum. Diets were isocaloric (net energy basis) and equal in intestinal digestible protein. Dry matter intake, net energy intake, milk yield, and milk protein percentage did not differ among diets. Milk lactose percentage was less for cows fed the lipogenic diet. Milk fat percentage was less for multiparous cows fed the glucogenic diet compared with cows fed the mixed or lipogenic diet (3.69 vs. 4.02 vs. 4.22 ± 0.07%, respectively). The calculated EB was less negative for multiparous cows fed the glucogenic diet compared with cows fed the mixed or lipogenic diet [¿33 vs. ¿125 vs. ¿89 ± 21 kJ/(kg0.75 · d), respectively]. Postpartum, the glucogenic diet decreased plasma nonesterified fatty acids, ß-hydroxybutyrate, and liver TAG concentrations and increased insulin concentration in multiparous cows. The glucogenic diet tended to decrease the number of days until first milk progesterone rise in multiparous cows compared with the mixed or lipogenic diet (20.4 vs. 24.4 vs. 26.4 ± 2.1 d, respectively). Diet had no effect on any of the above-mentioned variables in primiparous cows, except that milk lactose percentage was greater for primiparous cows fed the glucogenic diet. We concluded that the glucogenic diet was effective in improving the calculated EB and decreasing plasma ß-hydroxybutyrate and liver TAG concentrations, suggesting a reduced risk of metabolic disorders in multiparous dairy cows fed a glucogenic diet.
- transition period