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This research was carried out to quantify the effects of a range of variables on milk fat globule (MFG) size for a herd of Holstein-Friesian cows managed through an automatic milking system with year-round calving. We hypothesised that the overall variation in average MFG size observed between individual animals of the same herd cannot sufficiently be explained by the magnitude of the effects of variables that could be manipulated on-farm. Hence, we aimed to conduct an extensive analysis of possible determinants of MFG size, including physiological characteristics (parity, days in milk, days pregnant, weight, age, rumination minutes, somatic cell count) and milk production traits (number of milkings, milk yield, fat yield, protein and fat content, fat-protein ratio) on the individual animal level; and environmental conditions (diet, weather, season) for the whole herd. Our results show that when analysed in isolation, many of the studied variables have a detectable effect on MFG size. However, analysis of their additive effects identified days in milk, parity and milk yield as the most important variables. In accordance with our hypothesis, the estimated effects of these variables, calculated using a multiple variable linear mixed model, do not sufficiently explain the overall variation between cows, ranging from 2.70 to 5.69 µm in average MFG size. We further show that environmental variables, such as sampling day (across seasons) or the proportion of pasture and silage in the diet, have limited effects on MFG size and that physiological differences outweigh the effects of milk production traits and environmental conditions. This presents further evidence that the selection of individual animals is more important than the adjustment of on-farm variables to control MFG size.
The growth rate of the young pig is generally much less than its potential and may be constrained by endocrine status as well as nutrient intake. The aim of the present study was to determine whether porcine (p) somatotropin (ST) treatment of the sucking pig could alter subsequent body composition. Twelve mixed-parity cross-bred sows with an average litter size of ten piglets were used to nurse pigs for the present study. On day 1 of lactation, the median two male pigs (by weight) from each litter were randomly allocated to one of two doses of pST (0 or 1 mg/kg per d) until weaning on day 21. Pigs were weaned and offered feed ad libitum until slaughter at 134 d of age. Body composition was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at 21, 49, 77, 105 and 133 d of age. There was no significant difference in growth rates between day 1 and 21 of lactation in pigs injected with either saline (9 g/l NaCl/l) or pST (258 v. 246 g/d for control and pST-treated pigs respectively, P=0·61), and as a consequence there was no significant difference in liveweight at weaning (7·13 v. 6·84 kg, P=0·59). However, fat mass at weaning tended to be decreased (1·18 v. 0·96 kg, P=0·064), while the % fat in the body at weaning was significantly (16·7 v. 13·9 %, P=0·008) decreased by exogenous pST treatment. In the immediate post-weaning period there was a reduction in lean tissue deposition (347 v. 300 g/d, P=0·021) but no effect on fat deposition (35 v. 33 g/d, P=0·72). Over the entire weaning-to-slaughter period, pST treatment of neonatal pigs decreased the rate of fat deposition (130 v. 112 g/d, P=0·033), but had no effect on lean tissue deposition (550 v. 538 g/d, P=0·49). Therefore, treatment of nursing pigs with high doses of pST for a short period before weaning may provide a means of reducing the fat content of pork and pork products.
Thirty female Large White × Landrace pigs (average weight 57·2 (SD 1·9) kg) were allocated to one of six dietary treatments containing 0, 1·25, 2·5, 5·0, 7·5 or 10·0 g 55 % conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) isomers (CLA-55)/kg diet and fed for 8 weeks. Each pig was scanned at 0, 28 and 56 d and again at post slaughter using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to determine the temporal pattern of body composition responses. Values determined by DXA were adjusted using regression equations generated from validation experiments between chemically and DXA-predicted values. Overall, there was a significant linear reduction in fat content with the increasing levels of CLA in the diet (P=0·007, P=0·011, P=0·008 at week 4, week 8 and for the carcass, respectively). The greatest improvement was recorded at the early stages of CLA supplementation and for the highest dose of CLA (week 4, −19·2 % compared with week 8, −13·7 %). In the first 4 weeks of feeding CLA, pigs receiving 10 g CLA-55/kg diet deposited 93 g less fat/d than pigs fed basal diets (P=0·002) compared with only 6 g less fat than control animals in the final 4 weeks. Lean content and lean deposition rate were maximised at 5 and 2·5 g CLA-55/kg diet for the first 4 weeks (P=0·016) and the final 4 weeks of treatment (P=0·17), respectively. DXA estimates of bone mineral content and bone mineral density were not affected by CLA supplementation throughout the experiment. These data demonstrate that dietary CLA decreases body fat in a dose-dependent manner and that the response is greatest over the initial 4 weeks of treatment.
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