Effect of Prepartum Dietary Energy on Condition Score, Postpartum Energy, Nitrogen Partitions, and Lactation Production Responses


Objectives were to examine the effects of feeding to alter body condition at calving on subsequent full lactation production performance and feed intake, on BW and periparturient blood traits, and on complete energy and N balances and ration digestibility during wk 6, 10, and 14 postpartum. Thirty pluriparous Holstein cows were assigned randomly to two energy intakes from wk 33 of previous lactation through the dry period to create either normal (7.2) or thin (5.8) mean body condition scores at calving (9 = fat, 1 = thin). The thin group was fed 0 kg hominy feed daily; the normal group was fed 2.7 kg daily to supplement forage DM available ad libitum during this period. When compared with the normal group, cows in the thin condition group exhibited less negative body fat balance (–206 vs. –507 g/d); similar milk yield, DM intake, N partitions, and nutrient digestibilities; and lower fat test (3.2 vs. 4.1%) during the balance measurements. Whole blood and serum traits were within normal physiological ranges. Full lactation measurements were similar between treatments except that milk fat percentage was lower and DM intake (as percentage of BW), was higher in the thin condition group. Although mean BW at calving was more (651 vs. 599 kg) for normal condition cows, condition scores and BW were not significantly different at 14 wk postpartum; BW curves indicated similar rates of recovery of weight thereafter. Cows considered underconditioned at parturition mobilized less body fat after calving, resulting in reduced milk fat concentration without significant effects on milk yield, protein, SNF, DM intake, or nutrient utilization.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of dairy science



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Scientific Contribution Number


Document Type



© 1990 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.