Using rumen probes to examine effects of conjugated linoleic acids and dietary concentrate proportion on rumen pH and rumen temperature of periparturient dairy cows

The study aimed to examine the influence of supplemented conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) to periparturient cows receiving different concentrate proportions antepartum on rumen pH (RpH) and rumen temperature (RT). Twenty pregnant German Holstein cows were equipped with rumen probes for continuous RpH and RT measurement in a frequency of 15 min to investigate effects of dietary concentrate and CLA around parturition and the impact of parturition itself on RpH and RT. Cows had ad libitum access to partial mixed rations, 3 weeks prior to calving until day 7 post-partum. Antepartum, cows received 100 g/day control fat (CON) or CLA supplement, either in low (20%; CON-20, CLA-20) or high concentrate diet (60%; CON-60, CLA-60). Post-partum, concentrate proportion was adjusted to 50% while fat supplementation continued. Compared with adapted feeding, high concentrate proportions antepartum tended to increase DMI and reduced RpH. Groups CON-60 and CLA-60 spent more than 4 h per day below RpH 5.6 during late pregnancy, indicating the presence of subacute rumen acidosis (SARA). The RT remained unaffected antepartum. Before calving, cows spent less time below RpH 5.6 and SARA could be detected in each group post-partum. Mean RpH increased slightly antepartum, whereas few hours before parturition a sharp decrease in RpH could be observed, accompanied with increased RT. Overall, it seems that CLA supplementation influences RpH and RT. Bearing in mind that rumen parameters fluctuate during day and herd level must be known, rumen probes for continuous RpH and RT measurement could be a useful management tool for animal health surveillance and may also help to predict parturition.



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