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Feeding High Proportions Of Barley Grain Stimulates An Inflammatory Response In Dairy Cows.

D. G. Emmanuel, S. Dunn, B. Ametaj
Published 2008 · Medicine, Biology
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The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of feeding increasing proportions of barley grain on acute phase response in lactating dairy cows. Eight cannulated primiparous (60 to 140 d in milk) Holstein dairy cows were assigned to 4 diets in a 4 x 4 Latin square experimental design. The experimental period lasted for 21 d, with 11 d of adaptation and 10 d of measurements. Cows were fed the following diets: 1) no barley grain in the diet, 2) 15% barley grain, 3) 30% barley grain, and 4) 45% barley grain, as well as barley and alfalfa silage and alfalfa hay at 85, 70, 55, and 40% [dry matter (DM) basis]. All cows were supplemented with a 15% concentrate mix. Blood and rumen fluid samples were collected on d 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 of the measurement period, and pH and endotoxin content were measured in rumen samples. Concentrations of serum amyloid A, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, haptoglobin, and C-reactive protein in plasma were measured by ELISA. Feeding high proportions of barley grain at 0, 15, 30, and 45% of DM was associated with lower feed intake (32.6, 32.9, 27.34, and 25.18 kg/d +/- 1.30, respectively), lower ruminal pH (6.8, 6.7, 6.7, and 6.5 +/- 0.03, respectively), and higher DM intake (13.33, 15.28, 14.68, and 16.04 +/- 0.63 kg/d, respectively) and milk production (27.2, 28.2, 29.0, and 31.0 +/- 1.2 kg/d, respectively). Ruminal endotoxin increased in cows receiving 30 and 45% barley grain (5,021, and 8,870 +/- 393 ng/mL, respectively) compared with those fed no grain or 15% barley grain (654 and 790 +/- 393 ng/mL, respectively). Plasma concentrations of serum amyloid A, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, and C-reactive protein increased in cows given higher (30 and 45%) proportions of grain. Plasma haptoglobin was not affected by treatments. In conclusion, feeding dairy cows high proportions (30 and 45% DM basis) of barley grain was associated with lower feed intake and rumen pH, increased endotoxin in the rumen fluid, and stimulation of an inflammatory response.

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