Study: Chili pepper plant extract boosts feed efficiency during transition period, early lactation in dairy cows

By Jane Byrne

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© GettyImages/travenian
© GettyImages/travenian

Related tags Chili pepper Feed efficiency lactation dairy cows transition period Capsicum oleoresin milk fat

Feeding rumen-protected Capsicum oleoresin (CAP), a plant extract derived from chili pepper plants, during the transition period and early lactation can increase fat-corrected milk yield and improve milk fat and feed efficiency of dairy cows, finds a new paper.

Encapsulation technologies have been developed to enable Capsicum oleoresin utilization in animal nutrition.

The authors, writing in the Journal of Animal Feed Science and Technology​, explained that CAP contains bioactive compounds reported to influence the energy metabolism in dairy cows.

Their study investigated the effects of feeding rumen-protected CAP during the transition period and early lactation on total-tract apparent digestibility of nutrients, serum metabolites, milk yield and composition in dairy cows.

There is limited data on the supplementation of encapsulated Capsicum oleoresin during the transition period and early lactation in dairy cows, reported the researchers.

They said that, as far as they can tell, only Oh et al. (2021) have done so. “These authors, however, performed a ketosis challenge during the second week of lactation which likely influenced performance responses throughout the rest of lactation.”

CAP, they added, has shown positive impacts on the immune response, oxidative status, and energy metabolism in dairy cows in other studies, and thus they believe this feed additive may be able to address the challenges faced by cows during the transition period.

The study

In this study, 24 healthy Holstein cows were enrolled to this study at four weeks from the expected calving date.

Animals were blocked according to parity and expected calving date. Cows were randomly assigned to a control (CON) diet without feed additives or to the CAP diet, which included a supply of rumen-protected CAP at 100 mg per day, said the authors.

Pre-partum and post-partum data were analyzed separately, they added.

The research team saw that dry matter intake (DMI) and related dietary variables were not affected by the diets during the pre- or post-partum period.

No differences were detected on digestibility of DM, organic matter, or crude protein during the pre-partum and post-partum periods. Serum metabolite concentrations were similar between the groups either during the pre-partum or post-partum periods.

Milk yield tended to be greater in cows fed CAP than CON, they observed.

Fat-corrected milk yield was increased by feeding CAP. Milk fat yield and feed were significantly greater in cows fed CAP than CON.

“Feeding rumen-protected Capsicum oleoresin at 100 mg/day during the transition period and early lactation improved FCM yield, milk fat yield, and feed efficiency, without affecting total-tract apparent digestibility of DM and markers of body fat mobilization during the post-partum period.”

Source: Journal of Animal Feed Science and Technology

Title: Feeding rumen-protected Capsicum oleoresin to dairy cows during the transition period and early lactation: Effects on nutrient digestibility, blood metabolites, and performance

Authors: FP Rennó et al


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