Characteristics of milk and butter from cows fed sunflower seeds.
Composition of milk and butter was evaluated from cows fed either control or experimental diets containing added fat of partially unsaturated fatty acid composition. The control diet concentrate mix consisted mainly of corn and soybean meal. The two experimental diets substituted either 20% high oleic sunflower seeds (>79% of fatty acids as oleic acid) or 20% regular sunflower seeds (>67% of fatty acids as linoleic acid) for part of the corn and soybean meal in the concentrate mix. Feeding lactating dairy cattle sunflower seeds resulted in lower concentrations of short and medium chain and higher concentrations of long-chain fatty acids in milk fat and butter. Milk unsaturated fatty acid concentrations were (28.9, 38.8, 45.6%), and butter unsaturated fatty acid concentrations were (29.6, 38.1, 44.3%) for control, high oleic sunflower seed, and regular sunflower seed treatment milk, respectively. Organoleptic evaluation indicated the high oleic sunflower seed and regular sunflower seed treatment butters were equal or superior in flavor to the control butter. The high oleic sunflower seed and regular sunflower seed treatment butters were softer, more unsaturated, and exhibited acceptable flavor, manufacturing, and storage characteristics.