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Prevalence of elevated milk β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in Holstein cows measured by Fourier-transform infrared analysis in Dairy Herd Improvement milk samples and association with milk yield and components


Prevalence of elevated milk β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in Holstein cows measured by Fourier-transform infrared analysis in Dairy Herd Improvement milk samples and association with milk yield and components



Journal of Dairy Science 99(11): 9263-9270



ISSN/ISBN: 0022-0302

PMID: 27544853

DOI: 10.3168/jds.2016-11128

The purpose was to describe the prevalence and effect of elevated milk β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) as detected by routine Fourier-transform infrared analysis in Dairy Herd Improvement milk samples. Data collected over 4 yr included cow information as well as milk yield and composition from 498,310 samples from postparturient Holstein cows (5-35d in milk) from 4,242 herds. The following thresholds were used to classify cows based on their early lactation milk BHB concentration: <0.15mmol/L=negative; 0.15 to 0.19mmol/L=suspect; and ≥0.20mmol/L=positive. Overall prevalence (suspect + positive) was 22.6% and was higher for older cows (18.7, 19.5, and 27.6%, for cows in their first, second, and third or greater lactation, respectively). Distribution with regards to days in milk was different among parity groups, with first-lactation cows having highest prevalence (30%) in the first week after calving; cows in their second and third and greater parity had the highest prevalence in the second week after calving, at 25.8 and 34.6%, respectively. Season of calving affected the prevalence of elevated milk BHB, with cows calving in the fall and spring seasons showing higher prevalence. Distribution among herds was highly variable, as 45% of herds had a prevalence of 20% or less, 47% of herds had a prevalence between 21 and 40%, 6% of herds had a prevalence between 40 and 50%, and 2% of herds had a prevalence of 50% or above. Positive cows had lower milk yield, protein concentration and yield, and lower Transition Cow Index than negative cows, but also higher fat concentration and yield, as well as higher somatic cell count than negative cows. Suspect cows were generally intermediate. The present analysis highlights the opportunity for elevated milk BHB monitoring at the herd level through routine BHB testing in Dairy Herd Improvement milk samples.

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Accession: 058617936

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