Effect of level of inclusion of Bioplex® Copper or CuSO4 on the milk fatty acid and profile in dairy cows.

Experiment to determine the effect of rate of inclusion of Bioplex® Cu or CuSO4 on the milk fatty acid content in dairy cows.

Year of Publication2010

There is evidence in dairy cows that supplementation with dietary copper as CuSO4, particularly at supra-nutritional levels, can decrease the content of the nutritionally beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in milk, although the influence at lower levels of inclusion and when supplied in an organic form are unclear. An experiment was therefore conducted to determine the effect of rate of inclusion of Bioplex® Cu or CuSO4 on the milk fatty acid content in dairy cows. Fifty six Holstein-Friesian dairy cows (20 primaparous and 36 multiparous) were randomly allocated to one of four dietary treatments: either no supplementary Cu (B-0), Bioplex® Cu added at 5 (B-5) or 10 (B-10) mg Cu/kg DM or CuSO4 added at 10 mg Cu/kg DM (C-10). All cows received the same basal ration that contained (kg/kg DM) 0.57 forage, of which proportionally 0.67 was maize silage and 0.33 first cut grass silage. Background dietary Cu concentrations were 5.7mg/kg DM. Milk yield and intake were recorded daily and milk samples taken weekly for subsequent analysis of fat and protein. An additional milk sample was collected at the end of the study for fatty acid analysis. Animals remained on study for 12 weeks. There was no effect (P>0.05) of dietary treatment on DM intake or milk yield, which averaged 22.2 and 36.0 kg/d respectively. Similarly, there was no effect (P>0.05) of treatment on milk composition or milk fatty acid composition of any of the reported fatty acids except for C12:0 which tended (P=0.075) to be lower in cows when offered C-10. It is concluded that the level and form of dietary Cu does not influence the milk fatty acid profile in dairy cows when included at the recommended dietary levels.

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