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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #347940

Research Project: Multifunctional Farms and Landscapes to Enhance Ecosystem Services

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Winter supplementation of ground whole flaxseed impacts milk fatty acid composition on organic dairy farms in the northeastern United States

Author
item Hafla, Aimee - Agri-King, Inc
item Soder, Kathy
item Brito, Andre - University Of New Hampshire
item Kersbergen, Richard - University Of Maine
item Benson, Fay - Cornell University - New York
item Darby, Heather - University Of Vermont
item Rubano, Melissa - Consultant
item Dillard, Leanne - University Of Auburn
item Kraft, Jana - University Of Vermont
item Reis, Simone - University Of New Hampshire

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2017
Publication Date: 1/14/2018
Citation: Hafla, A., Soder, K.J., Brito, A., Kersbergen, R., Benson, F., Darby, H., Rubano, M., Dillard, L., Kraft, J., Reis, S. 2018. Winter supplementation of ground whole flaxseed impacts milk fatty acid composition on organic dairy farms in the northeastern United States{Abstract}. American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings.p. 1.

Interpretive Summary: No Interpretive Summary is needed for this Abstract.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate supplementation of ground whole flaxseed to organic dairy cows during the non-grazing season to maintain levels of beneficial fatty acid concentrations in milk typically observed during the grazing season. During the winters of 2013-14 and 2014-15, 9 organic dairy farms supplemented ground whole flaxseed at 6% of diet dry matter to half of the cows within each herd (n = 238 cows/treatment). Milk samples were collected monthly throughout the 90-day feeding period. Winter flaxseed supplementation did not impact concentrations of milk fat or milk protein. While flaxseed increased milk omega-3 fatty acid concentrations by 88%, total CLA concentrations in milk were only slightly increased (9%). This indicates that a greater level of winter supplementation is required to maintain increased concentrations of beneficial fatty acids, such as CLA, compared to concentrations observed during the grazing season. However, due to potential negative impacts on ruminal fermentation and milk production at greater levels of flaxseed supplementation, economic incentives would be needed to justify feeding flaxseed to dairy cows.