Supplemental feeding with glycerol or propylene glycol of dairy cows in early lactation--effects on metabolic status, body condition, and milk yield

Lomander, H.; Frössling, J.; Ingvartsen, K.L.; Gustafsson, H.; Svensson, C.

Journal of Dairy Science 95(5): 2397-2408


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3198
PMID: 22541468
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2011-4535
Accession: 056015078

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The objective of this field study was to evaluate the effect of supplemental feeding with glycerol or propylene glycol to dairy cows in early lactation on metabolic status, body condition and milk yield. In total, 673 newly calved cows from 12 commercial Swedish dairy herds were randomized to daily supplementation with 450 g of glycerol (GLY), 300 g of propylene glycol (PG), or nothing (control, CON). Supplements were fed twice daily from 0 to 21 d in milk (DIM) as a top dress on concentrates. For each cow, data on parity, breed, calving date, monthly test-day milk yield, and cases of diseases were collected. Blood samples were taken at approximately 2, 5, and 8 wk postpartum (pp) and analyzed for glucose, β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), and insulin. Samples taken within 3 wk pp were also analyzed for insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Measurements of body condition score (BCS) and heart girth (HG) were obtained at approximately 2 and 5 wk pp and at time of first insemination. The effects of supplemental feeding with GLY or PG on the plasma concentrations of glucose, NEFA, BHBA, insulin, and IGF-1, and BCS, HG, and occurrence of disease were analyzed. No differences in BCS or HG or in plasma concentrations of glucose, BHBA, NEFA, or IGF-1 were found between the control group and any of the treatment groups. Cows in the GLY group had lower plasma insulin concentrations during DIM 0 to 63 compared with group CON, but no difference in insulin was found between the PG group and the CON group. Cows supplemented with GLY had a higher milk yield (kg of milk and kg of energy-corrected milk) during the first 90 DIM. Cows in the PG group tended to yield more milk during the same period. No differences in the occurrence of diseases were seen between the groups. In conclusion, supplementation with GLY in early lactation did increase milk yield without a subsequent decrease of metabolic status, and supplementation with PG tended to do the same.