A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of bovine somatotropin (BST) supplementation in twelve lactating dairy cows maintained in cold environmental conditions. Six cows were injected daily with 25 mg of BST; the other six were injected with a control vehicle. Cows were maintained under standard dairy management during mid-winter for 30 days. Milk production was recorded twice daily, and blood samples were taken weekly. Animals were then transferred to environmentally controlled chambers and exposed to cycling thermoneutral (15° to 20° C) and cycling cold (-5° to +5° C) temperatures for 10 days in a split-reversal design. Milk production, feed and water intake, body weights and rectal temperatures were monitored. Blood samples were taken on days 1, 3, 5, 8 and 10 of each period and analyzed for plasma triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), cortisol, insulin and prolactin. Under farm conditions, BST-treated cows produced 11% more milk than control-treated cows and in environmentally controlled chambers produced 17.4% more milk. No differences due to BST in feed or water intake, body weights or rectal temperatures were found under laboratory conditions. Plasma T3 and insulin increased due to BST treatment while no effect was found on cortisol, prolactin or T4. The results showed that the benefits of BST supplementation in lactating dairy cows were achieved under cold environmental conditions.
- Bevine somatotropin
- Milk production
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis