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Vegetable Oils Rich in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation of Dairy Cows’ Diets: Effects on Productive and Reproductive Performance

Faculty of Veterinary, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 20840 Madrid, Spain
Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health-EMENA, 2200 Herentals, Belgium
School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering, Polytechnic. University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(5), 205;
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 17 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Agricultural By-Products in Animal Feeding)
PDF [448 KB, uploaded 30 April 2019]

Simple Summary

Ruminants milk contains some bioactive lipids that have a beneficial effect on human health. The present study aimed to evaluate the benefit of incorporating polyunsaturated fatty acids rich vegetable oils on productive and reproductive performance of dairy cows. The results show that including polyunsaturated fatty acids and rich vegetable oils in rations of dairy cows improve the nutritional profile of milk and some reproductive parameters. Ruminant milk often has a negative image for health because of its fat content and its composition. A way to improve the nutritional profile of the milk is to supplement dairy cows’ diets with polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which makes it healthier for the consumer and improves the commercial value of the milk in view of the continued decline in fertility among dairy cows. The possibility of supplementing the diet with vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids as a means of improving reproductive performance has considerable interest for dairy producers.


The aim of this study was to determine how polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) supplementation can affect the productive and reproductive performance in dairy cows subjected to a fixed-time artificial insemination (TAI) protocol under farm conditions. One hundred and ninety-eight Holstein non-pregnant cows were used. Treatments consisted of a control diet (CON), without added oil, and two diets supplemented with either 2.3% soybean oil (SOY) or 2.3% linseed oil (LIN) as dry matter. The diets were formulated to be isoenergetic and isoproteic. Dry matter intake and milk yield were similar among treatments (p > 0.05). Both the percentage of fat (p = 0.011) and protein (p = 0.022) were higher in milk from animals not fed with oil (CON). The greatest saturated fatty acid (SFA) concentration (p < 0.0001) was observed in milk from cows fed the control diet, without added oil. The monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), PUFA, and the n-3 PUFA content was higher (p < 0.0001) in the milk from animals fed with oil with respect to the control treatment. The C18:2 cis-9, trans-11 in the milk of animals fed with oil supplements was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) than in that of the control group. Animals supplemented with linseed oil tended to show higher plasma progesterone level (p = 0.09) and a higher number of pregnant cows on the first artificial insemination (p = 0.07). These animals tended to reduce the number of TAI (p = 0.08). In brief, results showed that vegetable oils rich in PUFA supplementation considerably improve the nutritional profile of milk. PUFA n-3 supplementation slightly improves some reproductive parameters in dairy cows subjected to the fixed-time artificial insemination (TAI) protocol. View Full-Text
Keywords: dairy cows; polyunsaturated fatty acid; soybean oil; linseed oil; reproduction dairy cows; polyunsaturated fatty acid; soybean oil; linseed oil; reproduction

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Castro, T.; Martinez, D.; Isabel, B.; Cabezas, A.; Jimeno, V. Vegetable Oils Rich in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation of Dairy Cows’ Diets: Effects on Productive and Reproductive Performance. Animals 2019, 9, 205.

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