Effects of different starch sources on metabolic profile, production and fertility parameters in dairy cows.
The objective of the study was to determine the effect of replacing triticale (high rumen degradable starch) with maize grain (low rumen degradable starch) during the transition period and the first 120 days of lactation on metabolic and hormonal profile indices, milk production and fertility performance in cows. Forty-eight Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were divided into 4 groups: TT (2.5 kg triticale grain/cow per day supplemented from 14 days prepartum to day 120 postpartum), TM (2.5 kg triticale grain/cow per day supplemented from day 14 before parturition to calving, and then 2.5 kg maize grain to 120 days of lactation), MT (2.5 kg maize grain/cow per day supplemented from day 14 before parturition to calving, and then 2.5 kg triticale grain to 120 days of lactation), MM (2.5 kg maize grain/cow per day supplemented from 14 days prepartum to day 120 postpartum). Blood samples were collected 3 weeks and 1 week before calving and on days 14, 56 and 70 of lactation, and they were analyzed in terms of concentrations of glucose, insulin, leptin, insulin-like growth factor I, nonesterified fatty acids, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood urea nitrogen and activities of aspartate aminotransferase and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase. Milk samples were collected twice a day at weekly intervals and analyzed for fat, protein and lactose. Milk yield and individual dry mater intake were recorded at weekly intervals. Body condition was estimated 3 weeks before calving, on parturition day and on days 14, 56 and 120 of lactation. Replacing triticale grain with maize grain in the transition period and during lactation positively affected fertility of lactating cows. An increased first service conception rate and shortening of the days open period was observed in MM and TM groups in comparison to those found in group MT (P