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Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2307

Topic

Dairy

Summary and Implications

The composition of milk from dairy cows varies more in the colostral period than in other periods of lactation. The objective of this study was to determine which factors influence milk composition of Jersey cows during the colostral period. Composite milk samples were collected from 21 lactating Jersey cows of the Iowa State University Teaching Herd between February and July at 0, 12, 24, 30, 38, 46, 54, 62, 80, and 88 hours postpartum. The milk samples were analyzed for total fat, lactose, and protein content by infrared spectroscopy, for total protein nitrogen, non-casein nitrogen, and non-protein nitrogen content by Kjeldahl analyses, and for αS1–casein, β-casein, κ-casein, αS2-casein, α-lactalbumin, and β–lactoglobulin concentrations by reversed-phase HPLC. Milk composition changed during the first 4 days after parturition and was influenced by calving season, length of gestation, and parity; and all had significant interactions with time postpartum (all P < 0.01). Colostrum matured to normal milk in the first two days after parturition. The maturation of colostrum was associated with an increase in lactose content and a decrease in protein content, in particular of whey proteins other than α–lactalbumin. The colostrum of cows that calved between February and April had a lower lactose and a greater protein content, in particular of whey proteins other than α–lactalbumin and β–lactoglobulin, than did colostrum of cows that calved in May and June. The colostrum of multiparous cows was higher in protein content than was the colostrum of heifers because of higher concentrations of whey proteins. During the colostral period, milk of cows that calved before the predicted calving date had greater protein concentrations than did milk from cows that calved at or after the predicted calving date, which was the result of higher concentrations of whey proteins other than α–lactalbumin and β–lactoglobulin. We conclude that time postpartum, calving season, length of gestation, and parity affect the composition of milk in the early secretory period in lactating Jersey cows.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University

Language

en

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