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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Dairy Science

First Advisor

Kenneth Kalscheur


hemicellulose extract, butyrate, lactose, infusion


The lactating dairy cow experiences a period of negative energy balance immediately after calving. This is a result of an increased energy need for milk production as well as a lag in dry matter intake. Most of the metabolic disorders related to early lactation are either directly or indirectly caused by.this negative energy balance. There are several management practices related to cow comfort, dry matter intake, and stocking density designed to minimize the time the cow spends in a negative energy balance. Furthermore, there are several feeding practices implemented or feed additives fed by dairy managers to offer additional measures to promote animal performance. While the majority of research with early lactation cows or cows in negative energy balance has focused on propionate, there has been relatively little work evaluating the other VF As. On a molar basis, butyrate comprises the least proportion of the three main rumen VF As. However, the potential energy is greater than acetate or propionate (Bergman, 1990; Cherepanov and Agaphonov, 20I0). The objectives of our first research project were to evaluate a high sugar forestry co-product (hemicellulose extract (HE)) as it relates to lactating dairy cow production and digestibility . The HE product is a unique source of sugars that provide additional substrates for rumen bactrial growth and offers the potential to enhance production in lactating cows . The second research project was designed to investigate the efficts of sodium butyrate on production as well as metabolites related to glucose and lipid metabolism. The final project was a continuance of the second project and evaluated the potential benefits of developing and feeding a butyrate product that was protected from rumen degradation. The first research project allowed us to conclude that lactating cows supplemented with HE at 1.0% of the diet DM had greater total tract digestibility of the fiber fractions, particularly the NDF fraction . This increase in digestibility has the potential to provide additional energy, particularly from lower quality forages. The results from our final research projects suggested that butyrate can be supplemented at a high dietary inclusion without having adverse effects on animal health or performance. Additionally, when sodium butyrate was either singly dosed or continuously dosed over a 24-h period, several metabolites related to glucose metabolism were altered. Finally, it was concluded that plasma butyrate concentration could be increased if a source of butyrate could be designed that would escape conversion to ketone bodies in the rumen.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dairy cattle -- Feeding and feeds
Sugars -- Physiological effect


Includes bibliographical references (pages 161-177)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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