Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2302



Summary and Implications

Nutritional and physical properties of dairy products can be improved by changing milk fatty acid composition toward more unsaturation. Diet of cows, e.g., feeding supplemental fish oil (FO) or roasted soybeans (RSB), and cow selection can improve the nutritional and physical properties of dairy products and their acceptability to consumers. We examined whether feeding supplemental FO or RSB to cows that had a more unsaturated milk fatty acid composition acted additively to produce butter with improved fatty acid composition and texture. Multiparous Holstein cows chosen for producing either more or less unsaturated milk fatty acid composition (n = 6 in each group) were fed for three 3-week periods a control diet and two experimental diets that included additionally 0.9% of FO or 5% of RSB. The milk, collected in the third week of feeding, was used to make butter, which was analyzed for its fatty acid composition and physical properties. Dry matter intake, milk yield, and milk composition were not significantly affected by cow diet or by cow selection. Cows that produced, prior to the feeding study, a more unsaturated and healthful milk fat using a “health-promoting index” (HPI = [sum of % of unsaturated fatty acids] / [%C12:0 + 4 x %C14:0 + %C16:0]) maintained during the feeding study a higher HPI in their butter than did cows with a low HPI. Milk from cows fed supplemental FO or RSB yielded more unsaturated butters with higher HPI. This butter also was softer when the cows were fed RSB. Feeding RSB to cows chosen for their high milk HPI yielded the most unsaturated butter with the highest HPI and softest texture. Thus, selecting cows with a more healthful milk fatty acid composition and feeding cows supplemental RSB additively improved butter fatty acid composition and texture.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University