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Effects of dietary tallow level on performance of Alpine does in early lactation

I. E. Brown-Crowder, S. P. Hart, M. Cameron, T. Sahlu, and A. L. Goetsch

Small Ruminant Research. 39:233-241. 2001.

Dietary inclusion of fat in diets of lactating dairy cattle increases energy density and can enhance milk production without necessitating an increase in the level of cereal grains in the diet. There also have been experiments with dairy goats investigating influences of dietary addition of various fat sources. Fat supplementation has increased milk production and(or) fat concentration in many studies, although there are some reports in which effects did not occur possibly due to factors such as the particular fat source used. Stage of lactation has impact, with greatest potential for positive effects early than late in lactation. Although there has been research with added dietary fat for dairy goats, in many instances the number of dietary fat levels used was low, and there is a variety of commercial fat products presently available. Therefore, 60 Alpine does (47 ± 1.3 kg initial body weight) were used to determine effects of dietary inclusion of different levels of partially hydrogenated tallow on performance in early lactation (weeks 3-11). Treatments entailed a 30% concentrate, negative control diet and diets higher in concentrate (42-46%) with 0, 1.5, 3.0, 4.5 or 6.0% dry matter of partially hydrogenated tallow. Early lactation milk yield increased as dietary tallow level increased up to 3 or 4.5% of the diet, then decreased as the level increased to 6.0%. Milk fat concentration increased linearly as dietary tallow level increased, with no change in milk protein. However, efficiency of energy use for milk production appeared greater with 1.5 and 3.0% tallow compared with higher levels, possibly because of limited ruminal fiber digestion and(or) fatty acid absorption with high dietary tallow levels. Further research is necessary with diets higher in concentrate level to address practical and economical considerations for use of fat sources in diets of confined, high-producing dairy goats, and dietary ingredient costs must be considered in design of most profitable lactating dairy goat diets.


 

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