Profiles of energy metabolites and haptoglobin in dairy cows under organic management in Alberta farms

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  • Profiles of energy metabolites and haptoglobin (Hp) in dairy cows that are transitioned from conventional to organic management in various Alberta farms were compared with those of dairy cows managed conventionally at the University of Alberta dairy farm. Blood samples were collected during the following periods: Dry, 0 - 30, 30 - 60, and 60 - 90 days in milk (DIM, n = 7 cows). Concentrations of metabolites were evaluated by enzymatic colorimetric methods. Concentrations of Hp were determined by bovine ELISA kits. Data were analyzed by the mixed procedures of SAS. Concentrations of NEFA and BHBA in blood were elevated (P < 0.001) 0 to 30 d, intermediate 30 to 60, and 60 to 90 d, and lower in the dry period. In addition, BHBA was higher (P < 0.0001) at all stages of lactation in conventional than organic cows (e.g. 1289.4 ± 88.6 vs. 883.6 ± 47.5 µmol/L in conventional and organic cows at 0 - 30 d, respectively). Serum concentrations of cholesterol increased with increasing DIM and returned to nadir levels during dry period and was higher (P < 0.0001) in conventional than organic cows. Low glucose concentrations were observed 0 to 30 d, levels were intermediate 30 to 60 and 60 to 90 d, and peaked during the dry period (P < 0.0001). However, glucose concentrations did not differ (P < 0.54) between conventional and organic cows. Lactate did not (P < 0.24) vary with DIM or day × farm type but was higher (P < 0.0001) in organic cows than in conventional cows. Serum concentrations of Hp were elevated during dry period; reached peak levels 0 to 30 d and decreased gradually with increasing days postpartum and were much higher at all periods in conventional than organic cows. Overall, concentrations of Hp were 528.1 ± 45.2 µg/mL in conventional cows vs. 261.1 ± 16.9 µg/mL in organic cows (P < 0.0001). Taken together, these data indicate that metabolic changes associated with initiation of lactation are preceded by an acute phase response in dairy cows, and that cows in organic systems seem to be healthier than cows under conventional systems. These differences might be due to differences in nutritional management in the two systems.

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    Attribution 4.0 International
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    • Odhiambo, J. F., Farooq, U., Dunn, S. M., & Ametaj, B. N. (2013). Profiles of energy metabolites and haptoglobin in dairy cows under organic management in Alberta farms. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 3(2), 105-113.
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