Impacts of reducing the dry period to 40 days and eliminating the far-off diet on milk production, rumen and blood parameters, liver gene expression and rumen microbiome profile of holstein dairy cows
Canadian Journal of Animal Science
Effects of a short 40-d dry period with only a close-up diet (SHORT) and a conventional 60-d dry period with a 39-d far-off and a 21-d close-up diet (CONV) on milk production, feed intake, blood and rumen parameters, liver gene expression and rumen microbiota profile were compared in 11 second-parity and 15 third and later parity cows. Milk production was recorded daily during the first 16 wks of lactation. Differential liver gene expression was assessed by affymetrix microarray analysis and DNA extracted from rumen samples was subjected to Illumina sequencing for exploring the microbiome profile. The SHORT treatment reduced milk yield and DMI after calving in third and later parity cows, but not in second-parity cows when compared to the CONV treatment. Cows on the SHORT treatment had higher concentrations of NEFA in blood plasma and tended to have higher liver TAG immediately after calving. These effects tended to be greater in third- and later parity cows compared to second-parity cows. Expression patterns of genes involved in β-oxidation at the first week of lactation compared to those at three weeks before calving showed lower hepatic β-oxidation capacity in cows on the SHORT treatment compared to those on the CONV treatment. During this period, the expression of DGAT, a key gene in the triglyceride synthesis, increased in SHORT-treatment cows while it remained unchanged in CONV-treatment cows. The expression patterns of genes involved in gluconeogenesis showed a higher capacity at first week after calving in cows on the SHORT compared to those on the CONV treatment. Our study also showed that the SHORT treatment increased the relative abundance of Firmicutes and reduced the relative abundance of Bacteroidetes compared to the CONV treatment and reduced the shifting of rumen microbiota from before to after calving. Results also demonstrated that the rumen microbiota was more stable in the SHORT treatment during the transition period. Based on these results, a 40-d dry period management with only a close-up diet might be beneficial for second parity cows. However, this treatment may be detrimental for older cows as excessive energy intake and fat deposition during the dry period in these animals result in lower milk production and higher mobilization of NEFA and accumulation of fat in the liver.
Dairy cow, Dry period management, Milk production, Blood and rumen parameter, Rumen microbiome, Liver gene expression