The use of an upgraded GreenFeed system and milk fatty acids to estimate energy balance in early-lactation cows.

Affiliation

Guinguina A(1), Yan T(2), Trevisi E(3), Huhtanen P(4).
Author information:
(1)Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Hillsborough, Co. Down BT26 6DR, United Kingdom.
(3)Department of Animal Sciences, Food, and Nutrition
(DIANA), Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 29122, Piacenza, Italy.
(4)Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Measurements of energy balance (EB) require the use of respiration chambers, which are quite expensive and laborious. The GreenFeed (GF) system (C-Lock Inc.) has been developed to offer a less expensive, user friendly alternative. In this study, we used the GF system to estimate the EB of cows in early lactation and compared it with EB predicted from energy requirements for dairy cows in the Finnish feeding standards. We also evaluated the association between milk fatty acids and the GF estimated EB. The cows were fed the same grass silage but supplemented with either cereal grain or fibrous by-product concentrate. Cows were followed from 1 to 18 wk of lactation, and measurements of energy metabolism variables were taken. Data were subjected to ANOVA using the mixed model procedure of SAS (SAS Institute Inc.). The repeatability estimates of the gaseous exchanges from the GF were moderate to high, presenting an opportunity to use it for indirect calorimetry in EB estimates. Energy metabolism variables were not different between cows fed different concentrates. However, cows fed the grain concentrate produced more methane (24.0 MJ/d or 62.9 kJ/MJ of gross energy) from increased digestibility than cows fed the by-product concentrate (21.3 MJ/d or 56.5 kJ/MJ of gross energy). Nitrogen metabolism was also not different between the diets. Milk long-chain fatty acids displayed an inverse time course with EB and de novo fatty acids. There was good concordance (0.85) between EB predicted using energy requirements derived from the Finnish feed table and EB estimated by the GF system. In conclusion, the GF can accurately estimate EB in early-lactating dairy cows. However, more data are needed to further validate the system for a wide range of dietary conditions.