Effect of substituting fresh-cut perennial ryegrass with fresh-cut white clover on bovine milk fatty acid profile

BACKGROUND Including forage legumes in dairy systems can help address increasing environmental/economic concerns about perennial ryegrass monoculture pastures. This work investigated the effect of substituting fresh-cut grass with increasing quantities of fresh-cut white clover (WC) on milk fatty acid (FA) profile and transfer efficiency of dietary linoleic (LA) and α-linolenic (ALNA) acids to milk fat. Three groups of three crossbred dairy cows were used in a 3 × 3 crossover design. Dietary treatments were 0 g kg−1 WC + 600 g kg−1 grass, 200 g kg−1 WC + 400 g kg−1 grass, and 400 g kg−1 WC + 200 g kg−1 grass. All treatments were supplemented with 400 g kg−1 concentrates on a dry matter basis. Cows had a 19-day adaptation period to the experimental diet before a 6-day measurement period in individual tie stalls. RESULTS Increasing dietary WC did not affect dry matter intake, milk yield or milk concentrations of fat, protein or lactose. Milk polyunsaturated FA concentrations (total n-3, total n-6, LA and ALNA) and transfer efficiency of LA and ALNA were increased with increasing dietary WC supply. CONCLUSION Inclusion of WC in pastures may increase concentrations of nutritionally beneficial FA, without influencing milk yield and basic composition, but any implications on human health cannot be drawn.
Publication history: Accepted - 6 March 2018; Published online - 15 April 2018
white clover, fresh-cut grass, dairy cows, milk fatty acids, transfer efficiency
Stergiadis, S., Hynes, D. N., Thomson, A. L., Kliem, K. E., Berlitz, C. G., Günal, M. and Yan, T. (2018) ‘Effect of Stergiadis, S., Hynes, D.N., Thomson, A.L., Kliem, K.E., Berlitz, C.G., Günal, M. and Yan, T. (2018) ‘Effect of substituting fresh-cut perennial ryegrass with fresh-cut white clover on bovine milk fatty acid profile’, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Wiley. doi:10.1002/jsfa.8991.