Between- and within-herd variation in blood and milk biomarkers in Holstein cows in early lactation

dc.contributor.authorKrogh, M.A.
dc.contributor.authorHostens, M.
dc.contributor.authorSalavati, M.
dc.contributor.authorGrelet, C.
dc.contributor.authorSorensen, M.T.
dc.contributor.authorWathes, D.C.
dc.contributor.authorFerris, Conrad P.
dc.contributor.authorMarchitelli, C.
dc.contributor.authorSignorelli, F.
dc.contributor.authorNapolitano, F.
dc.contributor.authorBecker, F.
dc.contributor.authorLarsen, T.
dc.contributor.authorMatthews, E.
dc.contributor.authorCarter, F.
dc.contributor.authorVanlierde, A.
dc.contributor.authorOpsomer, G.
dc.contributor.authorGengler, N.
dc.contributor.authorDehareng, F.
dc.contributor.authorCrowe, M.A.
dc.contributor.authorIngvartsen, K.L.
dc.contributor.authorFoldager, L.
dc.descriptionPublication history: Accepted - 26 September 2019; Published online - 7 November 2019en_US
dc.description.abstractBoth blood- and milk-based biomarkers have been analysed for decades in research settings, although often only in one herd, and without focus on the variation in the biomarkers that are specifically related to herd or diet. Biomarkers can be used to detect physiological imbalance and disease risk and may have a role in precision livestock farming (PLF). For use in PLF, it is important to quantify normal variation in specific biomarkers and the source of this variation. The objective of this study was to estimate the between- and within-herd variation in a number of blood metabolites (β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), non-esterified fatty acids, glucose and serum IGF-1), milk metabolites (free glucose, glucose-6-phosphate, urea, isocitrate, BHB and uric acid), milk enzymes (lactate dehydrogenase and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAGase)) and composite indicators for metabolic imbalances (Physiological Imbalance-index and energy balance), to help facilitate their adoption within PLF. Blood and milk were sampled from 234 Holstein dairy cows from 6 experimental herds, each in a different European country, and offered a total of 10 different diets. Blood was sampled on 2 occasions at approximately 14 days-in-milk (DIM) and 35 DIM. Milk samples were collected twice weekly (in total 2750 samples) from DIM 1 to 50. Multilevel random regression models were used to estimate the variance components and to calculate the intraclass correlations (ICCs). The ICCs for the milk metabolites, when adjusted for parity and DIM at sampling, demonstrated that between 12% (glucose-6-phosphate) and 46% (urea) of the variation in the metabolites’ levels could be associated with the herd-diet combination. Intraclass Correlations related to the herd-diet combination were generally higher for blood metabolites, from 17% (cholesterol) to approximately 46% (BHB and urea). The high ICCs for urea suggest that this biomarker can be used for monitoring on herd level. The low variance within cow for NAGase indicates that few samples would be needed to describe the status and potentially a general reference value could be used. The low ICC for most of the biomarkers and larger within cow variation emphasises that multiple samples would be needed - most likely on the individual cows - for making the biomarkers useful for monitoring. The majority of biomarkers were influenced by parity and DIM which indicate that these should be accounted for if the biomarker should be used for monitoring.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613689. Additional funding was provided by the respective national research agencies and the Belgian authors thank the European Union’s INTERREG NWE program and the Ministry of Agriculture of Walloon Region of Belgium (Service Public de Wallonie Agriculture) for their financial support through the OptiMIR and the HappyMoo projects.en_US
dc.identifier.citationKrogh, M. A., Hostens, M., Salavati, M., Grelet, C., Sorensen, M. T., Wathes, D. C., Ferris, C. P., Marchitelli, C., Signorelli, F., Napolitano, F., Becker, F., Larsen, T., Matthews, E., Carter, F., Vanlierde, A., Opsomer, G., Gengler, N., Dehareng, F., Crowe, M. A., Ingvartsen, K. L. and Foldager, L. (2020) ‘Between- and within-herd variation in blood and milk biomarkers in Holstein cows in early lactation’, Animal. Elsevier BV, 14(5), pp. 1067–1075. doi: 10.1017/s1751731119002659.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright 2019 The Animal Consortium This is an open access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (, which permits distribution and reproduction for non-commercial purposes, provided the authors and source are citeden_US
dc.subjectphysiological imbalanceen_US
dc.titleBetween- and within-herd variation in blood and milk biomarkers in Holstein cows in early lactationen_US
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