Performance and metabolic profile of dairy cows during a lactational and deliberately induced negative energy balance with subsequent realimentation

Gross, J.; van Dorland, H.A.; Bruckmaier, R.M.; Schwarz, F.J. (2011). Performance and metabolic profile of dairy cows during a lactational and deliberately induced negative energy balance with subsequent realimentation. Journal of dairy science, 94(4), pp. 1820-30. Savoy, Ill.: American Dairy Science Association 10.3168/jds.2010-3707

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Homeorhetic and homeostatic controls in dairy cows are essential for adapting to alterations in physiological and environmental conditions. To study the different mechanisms during adaptation processes, effects of a deliberately induced negative energy balance (NEB) by feed restriction near 100 d in milk (DIM) on performance and metabolic measures were compared with lactation energy deficiency after parturition. Fifty multiparous cows were studied in 3 periods (1=early lactation up to 12 wk postpartum; 2=feed restriction for 3 wk beginning at 98+/-7 DIM with a feed-restricted and control group; and 3=a subsequent realimentation period for the feed-restricted group for 8 wk). In period 1, despite NEB in early lactation [-42 MJ of net energy for lactation (NE(L))/d, wk 1 to 3] up to wk 9, milk yield increased from 27.5+/-0.7 kg to a maximum of 39.5+/-0.8 kg (wk 6). For period 2, the NEB was induced by individual limitation of feed quantity and reduction of dietary energy density. Feed-restricted cows experienced a greater NEB (-63 MJ of NEL/d) than did cows in early lactation. Feed-restricted cows in period 2 showed only a small decline in milk yield of -3.1+/-1.1 kg and milk protein content of -0.2+/-0.1% compared with control cows (30.5+/-1.1 kg and 3.8+/-0.1%, respectively). In feed-restricted cows (period 2), plasma glucose was lower (-0.2+/-0.0 mmol/L) and nonesterified fatty acids higher (+0.1+/-0.1 mmol/L) compared with control cows. Compared with the NEB in period 1, the decreases in body weight due to the deliberately induced NEB (period 2) were greater (56+/-4 vs. 23+/-3 kg), but decreases in body condition score (0.16+/-0.03 vs. 0.34+/-0.04) and muscle diameter (2.0+/-0.4 vs. 3.5+/-0.4 mm) were lesser. The changes in metabolic measures in period 2 were marginal compared with the adjustments directly after parturition in period 1. Despite the greater induced energy deficiency at 100 DIM than the early lactation NEB, the metabolic load experienced by the dairy cows was not as high as that observed in early lactation. The different effects of energy deficiency at the 2 stages in lactation show that metabolic problems in early lactating dairy cows are not due only to the NEB, but mainly to the specific metabolic regulation during this period.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Physiology

UniBE Contributor:

Gross, Josef Johann; van Dorland, Hendrika Anette and Bruckmaier, Rupert




American Dairy Science Association




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:31

Last Modified:

21 Jan 2014 15:05

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 218439)

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