A total of 356 early lactation multiparous Holstein cows were used in a randomized complete block design to determine the effects of feeding extruded linseed on milk production and composition, and reproductive performance. Forty of these cows were randomly selected to study the effects of extruded linseed on milk fatty acid (FA) profile, individual feed intake and prostaglandin secretion. Cows were fed a 40:60 forage to concentrate ratio diet (17.9% CP, 27.7% NDF and 6.0% EE) ad libitum that was similar in composition between treatments except for the protein supplements that differed and were control (CTR: 4.9% extruded soybean) and linseed (LIN: 5.5% extruded linseed). Individual DM intake measured at 40 (23.0 kg/d) and 90 (24.2 kg/d) days in milk, and milk yield (45.0 kg/d) were not affected by treatment, but the lower (P < 0.05) milk fat percentage in cows fed LIN (2.65%) compared with CTR (2.86%) resulted in lower (P < 0.05) 4.0% fat-corrected milk yield for cows fed LIN (35.4 kg/d) compared with CTR (37.7 kg/d). Milk protein content was higher (P < 0.05) in LIN (3.04%) than in CTR (3.00%). The concentration of saturated FA was lower (P < 0.05) in milk fat from LIN (56.2%) compared with CTR (60.2%). Monounsaturated FA (35.7 vs. 32.7%) and polyunsaturated FA (8.0 vs. 6.9%) were higher in LIN (P < 0.05) than in CTR. Supplementation with LIN also increased (P < 0.05) the proportion of vaccenic acid (2.21 vs. 1.55%), total conjugated linoleic acid (0.91 vs. 0.72%) and n-3 FA (1.21 vs. 0.54%) in milk compared with CTR. Plasma concentrations of prostaglandin metabolite were numerically lower in LIN (106 pg/ml) compared with CTR (120 pg/ml) (P = 0.16) but reproductive performance was similar between treatments. In summary, extruded linseed reduced milk fat percentage and 4.0% fat-corrected milk yield and increased milk protein percentage and the content of healthy FA in milk without modifying DM intake, milk yield and reproductive performance.
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- Extruded linseed
- Milk fatty acids