Canola Oil in Lactating Dairy Cow Diets

Katiéli Caroline Welter, Cristian Marlon de Magalhães Rodrigues Martins, André Soligo Vizeu de Palma, Mellory Martinson Martins, Bárbara Roqueto dos Reis, Bárbara Laís Unglaube Schmidt, Arlindo Saran Netto - PLOS One

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

A study that could be useful for dairy farmers interested in a potential new spin on milk as a product.

Reduces milk saturated fatty acids and improves its omega-3 and oleic fatty acid contents

What is the problem?

Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo wanted to investigate the addition of canola oil to dairy cows’ diets in order to make milk that is healthier for human consumption. As our diets have changed, we have a reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which may be detrimental to overall health. The main aim of the study was to see if the addition of canola oil altered the fatty acid composition of the milk and the nutritional quality of the milk.

What did the research involve?

In the middle of lactation, 18 Holstein cows with milk yields averaging 22 (± 4) kg/d were split into 6 contemporary 3 x 3 Latin squares. Treatments consisted of three periods and three treatments:

  1. control diet (without oil)
  2. 3% inclusion of canola oil in the diet
  3. 6% inclusion of canola oil in the diet (dry matter basis)

Milking occurred twice a day, with milk yield being measured daily. Fatty acid profiles were taking from milk samples collected at the end of each trail period.

What were the key findings?

The 6% canola oil diet reduced the following in the milk, in comparison to the control diet:

  • milk yield by 2.51 kg/d
  • short-chain fatty acids (FA) by 41.42%
  • medium chain FA by 27.32%
  • saturated FA by 20.24%
  • saturated/unsaturated FA ratio by 39.20%
  • omega-6/omega-3 ratio by 39.45%

There was an increase with the 6% inclusion of canola oil in the diet as follows:

  • long chain FA by 45.91%,
  • unsaturated FA by 34.08%
  • monounsaturated FA by 40.37%
  • polyunsaturated FA by 17.88%
  • milk concentration of omega-3 by 115%
  • oleic acid by 44.87% and h/H

Final Comment

The addition of canola oil to the diet of lactating dairy cows increased the nutritional profile of the milk for human consumption, while also decreasing the overall milk yield.

2016 - Brazil - Katiéli Caroline Welter, Cristian Marlon de Magalhães Rodrigues Martins, André Soligo Vizeu de Palma, Mellory Martinson Martins, Bárbara Roqueto dos Reis, Bárbara Laís Unglaube Schmidt, Arlindo Saran Netto - PLOS One
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