Special Issue "High-Yielding Dairy Cows"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Cattle".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. João Simões
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Science, Animal and Veterinary Research Centre, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal
Interests: Veterinary sciences, animal production; animal nutrition; herd health, reproduction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, genetics, nutrition, and management improvements have led to high-yielding dairy cows. Currently, the total milk yield, fat and protein contents reach unpreceded levels during their lifetime production, and more increases are expected in the next few years. These improvements pose threats and challenges to animal health and welfare due to metabolic stress.

Metabolic stress is characterized by excessive lipomobilization, inflammatory and immune dysregulations and oxidative stress on body organic systems. It mainly occurs during the periparturient period. Cows are more susceptible to metabolic and infectious diseases such as ketosis, digestive alterations, metritis, mastitis, lameness and different degrees of infertility.

The ultimate goal of this Special Issue is to aggregate new information driving to more efficient dairy cow production in confinement and pasture systems. Research studies directly or indirectly assessing all aforementioned aspects in high-producing dairy cows are welcome. Additionally, we invite research papers which promote the use of new technologies and the automatization of processes (including Agriculture 5.0) in dairy farms, as well as the production impact on the environment and public health.

Prof. João Simões
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • high-producing dairy cows
  • metabolic stress
  • dairy cow production
  • automatization
  • postpartum diseases
  • negative energy balance
  • lactation
  • preventive medicine

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Metabolomics Approach Explore Diagnostic Biomarkers and Metabolic Changes in Heat-Stressed Dairy Cows
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1741; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101741 - 25 Sep 2020
Abstract
In the present experiment, we investigated the impact of heat stress (HS) on physiological parameters, dry matter intake, milk production, the metabolome of milk, and blood plasma in lactating Holstein dairy cows. For this purpose, 20 Holstein lactating cows were distributed in two [...] Read more.
In the present experiment, we investigated the impact of heat stress (HS) on physiological parameters, dry matter intake, milk production, the metabolome of milk, and blood plasma in lactating Holstein dairy cows. For this purpose, 20 Holstein lactating cows were distributed in two groups in such a way that each group had 10 cows. A group of 10 cows was reared in HS conditions, while the other group of 10 cows was reared in the thermoneutral zone. The results of the experiment showed that cows subjected to HS had higher respiration rates (p < 0.01) and greater rectal temperature (p < 0.01). Results of milk production and composition explored that HS lowered milk production (p < 0.01) and milk protein percentage (p < 0.05) than cows raised in a thermoneutral place. Furthermore, HS increased the concentrations of N-acetyl glycoprotein, scyllo-inositol, choline, and pyridoxamine in milk, while HS decreased the concentrations of O-acetyl glycoprotein, glycerophosphorylcholine, citrate, and methyl phosphate in milk. Moreover, HS enhanced plasma concentrations of alanine, glucose, glutamate, urea, 1-methylhistidine, histidine, and formate in cows, while the plasma concentration of low-density lipoprotein, very-low-density lipoprotein, leucine, lipid, and 3-hydroxybutyrate decreased due to HS. Based on the findings of the current research, it is concluded that HS alters the milk and blood plasma metabolites of lactating Holstein dairy cows. Overall, in the current experiment, HS altered eight metabolites in milk and twelve metabolites in the plasma of lactating Holstein dairy cows. Furthermore, the current study explored that these metabolites were mainly involved in proteolysis, gluconeogenesis, and milk fatty acid synthesis and could be potential biomarkers for dairy cows undergoing HS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Yielding Dairy Cows)
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Open AccessArticle
Associations between the Bovine Myostatin Gene and Milk Fatty Acid Composition in New Zealand Holstein-Friesian × Jersey-Cross Cows
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1447; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091447 - 19 Aug 2020
Abstract
The myostatin gene (MSTN), which encodes the protein myostatin, is pleiotropic, and its expression has been associated with both increased and decreased adipogenesis and increased skeletal muscle mass in animals. In this study, the polymerase chain reaction, coupled with single strand [...] Read more.
The myostatin gene (MSTN), which encodes the protein myostatin, is pleiotropic, and its expression has been associated with both increased and decreased adipogenesis and increased skeletal muscle mass in animals. In this study, the polymerase chain reaction, coupled with single strand conformation polymorphism analysis, was utilized to reveal nucleotide sequence variation in bovine MSTN in 410 New Zealand (NZ) Holstein-Friesian × Jersey (HF × J)-cross cows. These cows ranged from 3 to 9 years of age and over the time studied, produced an average 22.53 ± 2.18 L of milk per day, with an average milk fat content of 4.94 ± 0.17% and average milk protein content of 4.03 ± 0.10%. Analysis of a 406-bp amplicon from the intron 1 region, revealed five nucleotide sequence variants (A–E) that contained seven nucleotide substitutions. Using general linear mixed-effect model analyses the AD genotype was associated with reduced C10:0, C12:0, and C12:1 levels when compared to levels in cows with the AA genotype. These associations in NZ HF × J cross cows are novel, and they suggest that this variation in bovine MSTN could be explored for increasing the amount of milk unsaturated fatty acid and decreasing the amount of saturated fatty acid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Yielding Dairy Cows)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Functional Analysis of Mammary Gland of Cows in Heat Stress and Thermoneutral Condition
Animals 2020, 10(6), 1015; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10061015 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Heat stress (HS) exerts significant effects on the production of dairy animals through impairing health and biological functions. However, the molecular mechanisms related to the effect of HS on dairy cow milk production are still largely unknown. The present study employed an RNA-sequencing [...] Read more.
Heat stress (HS) exerts significant effects on the production of dairy animals through impairing health and biological functions. However, the molecular mechanisms related to the effect of HS on dairy cow milk production are still largely unknown. The present study employed an RNA-sequencing approach to explore the molecular mechanisms associated with a decline in milk production by the functional analysis of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in mammary glands of cows exposed to HS and non-heat-stressed cows. The results of the current study reveal that HS increases the rectal temperature and respiratory rate. Cows under HS result in decreased bodyweight, dry matter intake (DMI), and milk yield. In the current study, a total of 213 genes in experimental cow mammary glands was identified as being differentially expressed by DEGs analysis. Among identified genes, 89 were upregulated, and 124 were downregulated. Gene Ontology functional analysis found that biological processes, such as immune response, chaperone-dependent refolding of protein, and heat shock protein binding activity, were notably affected by HS. The Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes enrichment analysis found that almost all of the top-affected pathways were related to immune response. Under HS, the expression of heat shock protein 90 kDa beta I (HSP90B1) and heat shock 70 kDa protein 1A was upregulated, while the expression of bovine lymphocyte antigen (BoLA) and histocompatibility complex, class II, DRB3 (BoLA-DRB3) was downregulated. We further explored the effects of HS on lactation-related genes and pathways and found that HS significantly downregulated the casein genes. Furthermore, HS increased the expression of phosphorylation of mammalian target of rapamycin, cytosolic arginine sensor for mTORC1 subunit 2 (CASTOR2), and cytosolic arginine sensor for mTORC1 subunit 1 (CASTOR1), but decreased the phosphorylation of Janus kinase-2, a signal transducer and activator of transcription factor-5. Based on the findings of DMI, milk yield, casein gene expression, and the genes and pathways identified by functional annotation analysis, it is concluded that HS adversely affects the immune function of dairy cows. These results will be beneficial to understand the underlying mechanism of reduced milk yield in HS cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Yielding Dairy Cows)
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Open AccessArticle
Pregnancy Loss (28–110 Days of Pregnancy) in Holstein Cows: A Retrospective Study
Animals 2020, 10(6), 925; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10060925 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The objective of this retrospective study was to investigate the prevalence of pregnancy loss (PL; between 28–110 pregnancy days) and its relationship with factors: farm, year (2015–2018), season, artificial insemination (AI)-rank, parity, AI-type (fixed-time vs. oestrus-AI), previous PL, days in milk (DIM), fixed-time-AI [...] Read more.
The objective of this retrospective study was to investigate the prevalence of pregnancy loss (PL; between 28–110 pregnancy days) and its relationship with factors: farm, year (2015–2018), season, artificial insemination (AI)-rank, parity, AI-type (fixed-time vs. oestrus-AI), previous PL, days in milk (DIM), fixed-time-AI protocol, AI-technician, bull, and semen-type (sexed vs. conventional). Data of 19,437 Holstein cattle AIs from eight Spanish farms were studied. Overall conception rate was 34.3% (6696/19,437) and PL 12.3% (822/6696). The PL was more likely to occur in primiparous (10.8%, odds ratio (OR) = 1.35; p = 0.04) and multiparous (15.3%; OR = 2.02, p < 0.01) than in heifers (PL = 6.9%, reference). Pregnancies achieved with AI after observed oestrus and natural breedings were associated with less PL than pregnancies after fixed-time-AI (12.7 vs. 11.9%; OR = 0.12, p = 0.01). First AIs related to higher PL than ≥2nd AIs (PL = 13.8% vs. 11.2; OR = 0.73, p < 0.01). The factors season, fixed-time-AI protocol, DIM, bull, AI-technician, or type of semen were not significantly associated with PL. Therefore, farmers and consultants should adapt their preventive strategies relating to PL, particularly, to the parity of the cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Yielding Dairy Cows)
Open AccessArticle
Sizing Milking Groups in Small Cow Dairies of Mediterranean Countries
Animals 2020, 10(5), 795; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050795 - 04 May 2020
Abstract
A dairy farmer chooses the number of milking groups in function of the herd size, stall type and milking system also in small cow dairies (number of animals lower than 100–120). In these dairies, there are different milking systems (bucket, trolley, pipeline, little [...] Read more.
A dairy farmer chooses the number of milking groups in function of the herd size, stall type and milking system also in small cow dairies (number of animals lower than 100–120). In these dairies, there are different milking systems (bucket, trolley, pipeline, little autotandem, herringbone or parallel parlors) and each of them has a different work routine. The knowledge of the routine is the starting point for assessing the milking installation, because it determines the number of milked cows per hour. Different milking systems have common tasks (as pre-dipping, inspecting foremilk, udder preparation, attaching teat cups, post-dipping), but in the meantime there are different operations that characterize each specific routine (e.g., animal entry and exit if there is a parlor, bucket, trolley or milking group positioning if tie-stall). For this reason, we surveyed twenty small dairy farms located in the Piedmont Region (Italy) with different milking systems to correctly acquire the specific milking routines. Different models were therefore studied using the observed routines in in the examined farms. These models were then used to calculate the number of milked cows per hour and the number of milking groups. The main findings were simple equations, specific for each milking system, easily accessible by the farmer to correctly size his milking system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Yielding Dairy Cows)
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Open AccessArticle
Low Expression of Sirtuin 1 in the Dairy Cows with Mild Fatty Liver Alters Hepatic Lipid Metabolism
Animals 2020, 10(4), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040560 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Dairy cows usually experience negative energy balance coupled with an increased incidence of fatty liver during the periparturient period. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of hepatic steatosis on the expression of the sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), along with the [...] Read more.
Dairy cows usually experience negative energy balance coupled with an increased incidence of fatty liver during the periparturient period. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of hepatic steatosis on the expression of the sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), along with the target mRNA and protein expressions and activities related to lipid metabolism in liver tissue. Control cows (n = 6, parity 3.0 ± 2.0, milk production 28 ± 7 kg/d) and mild fatty liver cows (n = 6, parity 2.3 ± 1.5, milk production 20 ± 6 kg/d) were retrospectively selected based on liver triglycerides (TG) content (% wet liver). Compared with the control group, fatty liver cows had greater concentrations of cholesterol and TG along with the typically vacuolated appearance and greater lipid droplets in the liver. Furthermore, fatty liver cows had greater mRNA and protein abundance related to hepatic lipid synthesis proteins sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBP-1c), long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase (ACSL), acyl-CoA carbrolase (ACC) and fatty acid synthase (FAS) and lipid transport proteins Liver fatty acid binding protein (L-FABP), apolipoprotein E (ApoE), low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and microsomal TG transfer protein (MTTP) (p < 0.05). However, they had lower mRNA and protein abundance associated with fatty acid β-oxidation proteins SIRT1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor co-activator-1 (PGC-1α), peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-α (PPARα), retinoid X receptor (RXRα), acyl-CoA 1 (ACO), carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1), carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (CPT2) and long- and medium-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenases (LCAD) (p < 0.05). Additionally, mRNA abundance and enzyme activity of enzymes copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn SOD) decreased and mRNA and protein abundance of p45 nuclear factor-erythroid 2 (p45 NF-E2)-related factor 1 (Nrf1), mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) decreased (p < 0.05). Lower enzyme activities of SIRT1, PGC-1α, Cu/Zn SOD, CAT, GSH-Px, SREBP-1c and Mn SOD (p < 0.05) and concentration of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were observed in dairy cows with fatty liver. These results demonstrate that decreased SIRT1 associated with hepatic steatosis promotes hepatic fatty acid synthesis and inhibits fatty acid β-oxidation. Hence, SIRT1 may represent a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of the fatty liver disease in dairy cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Yielding Dairy Cows)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Identification of Crucial Genetic Factors, Such as PPARγ, that Regulate the Pathogenesis of Fatty Liver Disease in Dairy Cows Is Imperative for the Sustainable Development of Dairy Industry
Animals 2020, 10(4), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040639 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Frequently occurring fatty liver disease in dairy cows during the perinatal period, a typical type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), results in worldwide high culling rates of dairy cows (averagely about 25%) after calving. This has been developing into a critical industrial [...] Read more.
Frequently occurring fatty liver disease in dairy cows during the perinatal period, a typical type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), results in worldwide high culling rates of dairy cows (averagely about 25%) after calving. This has been developing into a critical industrial problem throughout the world, because the metabolic disease severely affects the welfare and economic value of dairy cows. Findings about the molecular mechanisms how the fatty liver disease develops would help scientists to discover novel therapeutic targets for NAFLD. Studies have shown that PPARγ participates or regulates the fat deposition in liver by affecting the biological processes of hepatic lipid metabolism, insulin resistance, gluconeogenesis, oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress and inflammation, which all contribute to fatty liver. This review mainly focuses on crucial regulatory mechanisms of PPARγ regulating lipid deposition in the liver via direct and/or indirect pathways, suggesting that PPARγ might be a potential critical therapeutic target for fatty liver disease, however, it would be of our significant interest to reveal the pathology and pathogenesis of NAFLD by using dairy cows with fatty liver as an animal model. This review will provide a molecular mechanism basis for understanding the pathogenesis of NAFLD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Yielding Dairy Cows)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Fatty acid profile and enterolactone content of early and commercial milk of dairy cows supplemented with flaked flaxseed during the dry period

Lucia Bailoni, Laura Da Dalt, Gianfranco Gabai, Elisa Giaretta, Nadia Guzzo, and Roberto Mantovani
Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science (BCA) and Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural resources. Animals and Environment (DAFNAE). University of Padova.

Abstract:

The aims of the present work were to evaluate the effects of flaked flaxseed supplementation during the dry period on milk quality and enterolactone (EL) content on plasma and milk.  Seventy-three high-yielding Italian Friesian cows were divided in two homogeneous groups and received a control or a flaxseed (FLAX) diet during the dry period. Blood samples were analyzed for EL content before and after parturition; while milk samples were collected in the first 30 days after calving, and analyzed for chemical composition, fatty acid profile and EL content.  The total amount of n3 fatty acids and plasma EL content significantly increased in the FLAX group at 4 and 15 days after calving, respectively.

 

The physiological roles of Vitamin E and hypovitaminosis E in the transition period of high-yielding dairy cow

HAGA1, H. ISHIZAKI1 and SG. ROH2

1   Division of Grassland Farming, Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, NARO, Nasushiobara, Tochigi, 329-2793, Japan

2   Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, Sendai 981-8572, Japan

Abstract: The act of parturition and increased metabolic activity result in induced oxidative stress and depletion of antioxidant defenses around the time of calving1. The majority of production diseases occurs during early lactation. Blood vitamin E (VE) levels decline gradually throughout prepartum, reaching the lowest levels (hypovitaminosis E) around calving and the hepatic expression of VE-related genes are alters1,2. Lower blood VE concentrations during early lactation are associated with the incidence of peripartum diseases such as mastitis, retained fetal membranes, and left displaced abomasum. Supplementation of VE during the dry-off period can enhance immune function and reduce the risk of mastitis during the periparturient period in dairy cows. This review of the literature investigates the physiological roles of VE and hypovitaminosis E in the transition period of high-yielding dairy cow.

Reference

1Haga S, Miyaji M, Nakano M, Ishizaki H, Matsuyama H, Katoh K, Roh SG. 2018. Changes in the expression of alpha-tocopherol-related genes in liver and mammary gland biopsy specimens of peripartum dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 101 :5277-5293.

2Haga S, Nakano M, Ishizaki H, Roh SG, Katoh K. 2015. Expression of α-tocopherol-associated genes and α-tocopherol accumulation in Japanese Black (Wagyu) calves with and without α-tocopherol supplementation. Journal of Animal Science. 93:4048–4057

 

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