The effects of a dietary supplement of rumen-protected choline on feed intake, milk yield, milk composition, blood metabolites, and hepatic triacylglycerol were evaluated in periparturient dairy cows. Thirty-eight multiparous cows were blocked into 19 pairs and then randomly allocated to either one of 2 treatments. The treatments were supplementation either with or without (control) rumen-protected choline. Treatments were applied from 3 wk before until 6 wk after calving. Both groups received the same basal diet, being a mixed feed of grass silage, corn silage, straw, and soybean meal, and a concentrate mixture delivered through transponder-controlled feed dispensers. For all cows, the concentrate mixture was gradually increased from 0 kg/day (wk -3) to 0.9 kg of dry matter (DM)/d (day of calving) and up to 8.1 kg of DM/d on d 17 postcalving until the end of the experiment. Additionally, a mixture of 60 g of a rumen-protected choline supplement (providing 14.4 g of choline) and of 540 g of soybean meal or a (isoenergetic) mixture of 18 g of palm oil and 582 g of soybean meal (control) was offered individually in feed dispensers. Individual feed intake, milk yield, and body weight were recorded daily. Milk samples were analyzed weekly for fat, protein, and lactose content. Blood was sampled at wk -3, d 1, d 4, d 7, d 10, wk 2, wk 3, and wk 6 and analyzed for glucose, nonesterified fatty acids, and ß-hydroxybutyric acid. Liver biopsies were taken from 8 randomly selected pairs of cows at wk -3, wk 1, wk 4, and wk 6 and analyzed for triacylglycerol concentration. We found that choline supplementation increased DM intake from 14.4 to 16.0 kg/d and, hence, net energy intake from 98.2 to 109.1 MJ/d at the intercept of the lactation curve at 1 day in milk (DIM), but the effect of choline on milk protein yield gradually decreased during the course of the study. Choline supplementation had no effect on milk yield, milk fat yield, or lactose yield. Milk protein yield was increased from 1.13 to 1.26 kg/d at the intercept of the lactation curve at 1 DIM, but the effect of choline on milk protein yield gradually decreased during the course of the study. Choline supplementation was associated with decreased milk fat concentration at the intercept of the lactation curve at 1 DIM, but the effect of choline on milk fat concentration gradually decreased as lactation progressed. Choline supplementation had no effect on energy-corrected milk yield, energy balance, body weight, body condition score, and measured blood parameters. Choline supplementation decreased the concentration of liver triacylglycerol during the first 4 wk after parturition. Results from this study suggest that hepatic fat export in periparturient dairy cows is improved by choline supplementation during the transition period and this may potentially decrease the risk for metabolic disorders in the periparturient dairy cow.
- early lactation
- fatty liver
Zom, R. L. G., van Baal, J., Goselink, R. M. A., Bakker, J. A., Veth, M. J., & van Vuuren, A. M. (2011). Effect of rumen-protected choline on performance, blood metabolites, and hepatic triacylglycerols of periparturient dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, 94(8), 4016-4027. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2011-4233