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Production and metabolic effects of site of starch digestion in lactating dairy cattle

Reynolds, C. K. ORCID: (2006) Production and metabolic effects of site of starch digestion in lactating dairy cattle. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 130. pp. 78-94. ISSN 0377-8401

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2006.01.019


Milk solids yield in modern dairy cows has increased linearly over the last 50 years, stressing the need for maximal dietary energy intake to allow genetic potential for milk energy yield to be realized with minimal negative effects on health and reproduction. Feeding supplemental starch is a common approach for increasing the energy density of the ration and supplying carbon for meeting the substantial glucose requirement of the higher yielding cow. In this regard, it is a long held belief that feeding starch in forms that increase digestion in the small intestine and glucose absorption will benefit the cow in terms of energetic efficiency and production response, but data supporting this dogma are equivocal. This review will consider the impact of supplemental starch and site of starch digestion on metabolic and production responses of lactating dairy cows, including effects on feed intake, milk yield and composition, nutrient partitioning, the capacity of the small intestine for starch digestion, and nutrient absorption and metabolism by the splanchnic tissues (the portal-drained viscera and liver). Whilst there appears to be considerable capacity for starch digestion and glucose absorption in the lactating dairy cow, numerous strategic studies implementing postruminal starch or glucose infusions have observed increases in milk yield, but decreased milk fat concentration such that there is little effect on milk energy yield, even in early lactation. Measurements of energy balance confirm that the majority of the supplemental energy arising from postruminal starch digestion is used with high efficiency to support body adipose and protein retention, even in early lactation. These responses may be mediated by changes in insulin status, and be beneficial to the cow in terms of reproductive success and well-being. However, shifting starch digestion from the rumen impacts the nitrogen economy of the cow as well by shifting the microbial protein gained from starch digestion from potentially absorbable protein to endogenous faecal loss.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:9101
Uncontrolled Keywords:Starch, Dairy cattle, Site of digestion

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