Date of Award

Fall 2016

Project Type


Program or Major

Animal Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Andre Brito

Second Advisor

Drew Conroy

Third Advisor

Peter Erickson


This thesis examines the feeding of kelp meal (KM), most commonly produced from the species Ascophyllum nodosum to lactating dairy cattle. In the first experiment KM was fed at incremental levels to lactating jersey cattle over the winter season in Lee, New Hampshire. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of incremental amounts (0, 57, 113, and 170 g/d) of KM on animal performance and milk iodine concentration in dairy cows fed high-forage diets. While animal performance was not improved, milk iodine output increased linearly in cows fed KM. Trends and quadratic effects were observed for nutrient digestibility, and plasma concentration of nonesterified fatty acids reduced linearly with KM supplementation.

In the second experiment treatments of 0 g and 113 g KM were fed to lactating Jersey cattle over the grazing season in Lee, New Hampshire. The objective of this second experiment was to determine how feeding 113 g of KM impacts animal performance and milk iodine concentration lactating dairy cattle during the grazing season in the Northeast. The results of this study found animal performance was not improved with KM supplementation. An increase in milk iodine levels were observed in cows fed KM. Somatic cell count was observed to be lower with KM feeding but was not statistically analyzed.