Nguyen, Q.V.; Le, H.V.; Nguyen, D.V.; Nish, P.; Otto, J.R.; Malau-Aduli, B.S.; Nichols, P.D.; Malau-Aduli, A.E.O. Supplementing Dairy Ewes Grazing Low Quality Pastures with Plant-Derived and Rumen-Protected Oils Containing Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid Pellets Increases Body Condition Score and Milk, Fat, and Protein Yields. Animals2018, 8, 241.
Nguyen, Q.V.; Le, H.V.; Nguyen, D.V.; Nish, P.; Otto, J.R.; Malau-Aduli, B.S.; Nichols, P.D.; Malau-Aduli, A.E.O. Supplementing Dairy Ewes Grazing Low Quality Pastures with Plant-Derived and Rumen-Protected Oils Containing Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid Pellets Increases Body Condition Score and Milk, Fat, and Protein Yields. Animals 2018, 8, 241.
The Australian dairy sheep industry is small and mostly based on a natural grass grazing system which can limit productivity. The current study tested different plant oil-infused and rumen protected polyunsaturated fats and their interactions with sire breeds to improve lactation traits and body condition score (BCS) of ewes grazing low quality pastures. It was hypothesised that supplementing lactating ewe diets plant-derived polyunsaturated oils will improve milk production and composition without compromising BCS. Sixty ewes (n=10/treatment) in mid-lactation, balanced by sire breed, parity, milk yield, body condition score, and liveweight were supplemented with: 1) control: wheat-based pellets without oil inclusion; wheat-based pellets including 2) canola oil (CO); 3) rice bran oil (RBO); 4) flaxseed oil (FSO), 5); safflower oil (SFO) and 6) rumen protected fat containing eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (RPO). Except for the control group, all supplementary diets included the same level of 50 ml/kg DM of oil and all diets were isocaloric and isonitrogenous. Experimental animals were grazed in the same paddock with ad libitum access to pasture, hay and water during the 10-week study. RPO was the most effective diet that enhanced milk, fat and protein yields by approximately 30, 13, and 31% respectively (P<0.0001). Significant increase in milk production was also observed in CO, RBO, and SFO (P<0.0001). Breed significantly influenced animal performance with higher milk yield recorded for crossbred Awassi x East Friesian (AW x EF) (578 g/day) vs purebred Awassi (452 g/day) (P<0.0001). This study provides empirical evidence for the use of rumen-protected and plant-derived oil-infused pellets as supplements under low quality pasture grazing conditions, to improve production performance of purebred Awassi and crossbred AW x EF ewes.
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