The aim of this study was to determine the effect of once-daily (1X) milking during a feed deficit on energy status of grazing dairy cows. Multiparous cows (n = 120), grazing to residuals of 1,600 kg DM/ha, and milked twice-daily (2X) from calving until approximately 35 days-in-milk, were allocated to one of four treatments in a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement. Cows were adequately fed (14 kg DM/cow/d) or underfed (8 kg DM/cow/d) and milked 2X or 1X for three weeks, after which all cows were milked 2X and grazed to residuals of 1,600 kg DM/ha for 20 weeks. During the three-week treatment period, plasma concentrations of glucose, insulin and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) were less in underfed compared with adequately cows, while non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) and liver enzymes were greater. An interaction existed and the increase in liver enzymes with underfeeding only occurred in cows milked 1X. Cows milked 1X had greater plasma glucose, insulin and IGF-I and less NEFA and BHBA than those milked 2X. Data indicate that milking cows 1X during an acute feed deficit improves energy status.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 72, Christchurch, 129-133, 2012
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