Milk Ketone Bodies Assessment in A Local Italian Cow Breed (Modenese) vs. Holstein and Characterization of its Physiological, Reproductive and Productive Performances

Abstract In Northern Italy are present several autochthonous cattle breeds characterized by a small territorial diffusion. These breeds were breed for century the milk and meat production but also for work. The technical data show that these animals have a good reproductive performances and disease resistance and resilience. The objective of this study was to characterize some productive, reproductive and metabolic parameters (ketone bodies) in the Italian autochthonous cattle breeds Modenese, comparing them with those of Holstein and crossbred (F1=Modenese x Holstein; F2=Modenese x F1) breed in the same farm in order to understand if there is a different metabolic situation that can influence the reproductive performances. The milk samples have been taken at different times of lactation. Milk samples have been collected from the whole udder during morning milking and from a lactometer and analyzed by Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to obtain the ketone bodies concentration. The reproductive (Open Days Period and number of Services Per Pregnancy) and productive (percentage and kg of protein between the 40th and 90th DIM) data have been recovered by the consultation of the farm registers and the APA (Provincial breeder association) data. On days open, number of services per pregnancy, % of proteins in milk, and kg of proteins in milk, a Spearman correlation analysis was applied. The comparative study between the races in the same breeding conditions is a fundamental tool to understand the correct reproductive and productive physiology of dairy cattle. Among the ketone bodies concentration, the Modenese breed showed a significant (p<0,05) lower concentration. A high concentration of ketone bodies is related with serious negative energy balance condition that can affect the reproductive performances. The F1, F2 and Modenese showed also better reproductive performances compared to Holstein, with a day’s open length in average between the 80-105 days. In conclusion, the better resilience against the negative energy balance and his adverse effects of Modenese cattle could be one of the phenomena underlying their better reproductive efficiency.

Keywords— Italian autochthonous cattle breeds, dairy cows, ketone bodies, reproduction, production.

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