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Effects of fatty acid supplementation to prepartum dairy cows on immunity in dams and their offspring.

A. Schroeder


Effects of fatty acid supplementation to prepartum dairy cows on immunity in dams and their offspring.
A. Schroeder*, M. Eastridge. The Ohio State University Columbus, OH.

The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of fatty acid supplementation differing in ω-6:ω-3 to prepartum dairy cows on colostrum yield and quality and immunity of the dam and calf. The focus is on improving passive immunity and long-term health measures in calves. 53 nonlactating pregnant Holstein cows were allocated to blocked and randomized amound 3 feeding groups considering parity and date of expected calving. All cows were fed ad libitum a TMR formulated at 14% CP and a DCAD of −7.3 mEq/100 g. The TMR consisted of corn silage (42.6%), grass haylage (28.4%), concentrate mix (27.3%), and top-dressed with 1 of 3 treatments consisting of 50% corn and 50% of the fat supplements (1.7%; ~0.227 kg/d): R4 (n = 18) with 23 g/d Prequel and 91 g/d Strata (Virtus Nutrition LLC, Corcoran, CA; ω-6:ω-3 (R) = 4); R6 (n = 18) with 64 g/d Prequel and 50 g/d Strata; and R8 (n = 17) with 91 g/d Prequel and 23 g/d Strata. Treatments were initiated at 21 d before expected parturition, at which time the cows were moved from group housing to individual maternity stalls. Feed offered and refused from individual cows were used to determine daily DMI; BW and body condition score (BCS) were determined at the beginning of the trial and weekly until calving. Blood was collected from the jugular vein when calving was imminent. Fresh animals were milked within 2 h of calving; 4L of fresh colostrum from the dam was bottle fed to each calf, and samples of colostrum and blood from the calf were collected at hour 0 and blood again at 48 h. The mixed model procedure of SAS was used for data analysis with block as the random variable. Data with P < 0.05 was regarded as significant and P < 0.15 a trend. DMI tended (P = 0.11) to be higher for R4 than R6 and R8 at 12.1, 11.6, and 11.6 kg/d, respectively. BW (718 kg) and BCS (3.38) of the dams neither differed by treatment nor was there a treatment by week interaction. Yield (6.1 kg) and Brix reading (26.1) of the colostrum was similar among treatments. Calf birth weight (42.3 kg) also was similar among treatments. Immune function measures will include concentrations of IgG in both the dam and calf and lymphocyte blastogenesis in the calf. Other than for DMI on dams, physical measures were similar amond treatments, but further investigation on immune function will provide addition insight to whether ω-6:ω-3 can impact fetal and neonate development.

Keywords: immunity, fatty acids, prepartum.