Effects of supplementing Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products to dairy cows from the day of dry-off through early lactation.

Discipline: supplementation; Keywords: Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products, inflammation, postpartum, liver functionality index.

In last month’s column, I touched on the use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products (SCFP) during the transient phase; the emphasis being on on performance, blood biomarkers, rumen fermentation, and ruminal bacteria population. In this column the focus is on supplementation of SCFP (as NutriTek, Diamond V) on milk yield, milk composition, somatic cell count, rumination activity, and the immune-metabolic profile (inflammation) during the dry and early lactation period, with some emphasis on the inflammation incidence. Post-calving inflammation severity was evaluated as the liver functionality index (LFI). The LFI is based on profiles of specific blood inflammatory markers in the first month of lactation. The results of the study by Dr A.M. Zontini and colleagues were published in the Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 104 of 2021, page 11673 to 11685; the title of the paper being: Effects of supplementing Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products to dairy cows from the day of dry-off through early lactation.

Treatments were Control (no supplement, 17 cows) or SCFP (19 g per day of NutriTek, 17 cows) included into a pellet delivered at the robotic milking unit. Treatments were fed from day 60 to +42 relative to parturition. Cows were fed the same basal rations formulated to pre- or post- calving requirements. Blood samples were collected at day 60, 28, 7, +7, and +28 relative to parturition. To study the effect of treatment and severity of inflammation during the period immediately before calving on subsequent cow performance, cows were retrospectively divided into two groups based on their LFI score: low (LLFI) and high (HLFI). Thus, the LFI grouping and supplementation treatment groups were as follows: LLFI-Control, LLFI-SCFP, HLFI-Control and HLFI-SCFP.

Non-esterified fatty acid concentrations were greatest at day 7 of lactation for LLFI-Control compared with the other groups. No other differences in plasma metabolites were observed. The LLFI-Control cows had a greater reduction of body condition score from day 7 until +28 relative to parturition compared with the other groups. Somatic cell counts were not different among groups, with averages of 175, 169, 184, and 126 × 1,000 cells per mL for the HLFI-Control, HLFI-SCFP, LLFI-Control, and LLFI-SCFP group, respectively, regardless of day. However, the LLFI-Control had a greater somatic cell count on day +42 compared with the other groups. During the week before parturition, the LLFI-Control group had reduced rumination time of 46 minutes compared with the other three groups. However, the minutes of rumination per day was only different between the LLFI-Control and the LLFI-SCFP groups. Milk production of the cows was different for LFI scores as follows: 50.2 versus 46.7 kg per day for HLFI and LLFI, respectively. Interestingly, there were no differences in milk production due to supplementation treatment of the HLFI cows. However, the LLFI-SCFP group produced 49.1 kg per day compared with 44.3 kg per day for the LLFI-Control group during the first month of lactation. Milk composition between groups did not differ throughout the experimental period.

In conclusion, SCFP supplementation assisted cows experiencing low LFI to maintain milk production, somatic cell count, and plasma non-esterified fatty acid concentrations similar to cows with high LFI. The results also support the benefits to the rumen environment and cow performance of supplementing yeast culture during the transition period through early lactation, discussed in the previous column from the paper: Effects of peripartal yeast culture supplementation on lactation performance, blood biomarkers, rumen fermentation, and rumen bacteria species in dairy cows, by Dr N. A. Carpinelli and colleagues.