Individual variation in the milk yield response to bovine somatotropin in dairy cows

Michael T. Rose, T. E. C. Weekes, P. Rowlinson

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7 Citations (SciVal)


The objective was to relate the short-term milk yield response (MYR) following use of exogenous bovine somatotropin (bST) to changes in plasma concentrations of metabolites and hormones. Twenty-four Holstein cows (52 ± 4.1 d postpartum) received daily subcutaneous injections of saline for 1 wk followed by subcutaneous injections of 33 mg/d of bST for 2 wk (Trial 1). The difference in milk yield between wk 1 and 3 for each cow was used to determine the 5 cows with the highest (HR) and 5 with the lowest responses (LR) to bST. These 10 cows were then used in 3 further trials of the same design (Trials 2, 3, and 4, conducted at 122, 181, and 237 ± 7.6 d postpartum, respectively). Blood samples were taken 2 h after the administration of bST on d 1, 3, 5, 15, 17, and 19 of each trial. The HR group had consistently greater MYR to bST than the LR group throughout their lactation. The LR group had a higher milk yield and lower plasma insulin like growth factor-I (IGF-I) concentrations during the saline treatment in all trials. The increase in plasma somatotropin concentrations following injections of bST was greater for the LR group, whereas the difference in plasma IGF-I level between wk 1 and 3 was greater for the HR group. The HR group had lower levels of 3-hydroxy-butyrate and nonesterified fatty acids before bST treatment. Low short-term response to bST was associated with plasma concentrations of hormones and metabolites that indicate negative energy balance, although other factors may be involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2024-2031
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2004


  • bovine somatotropin
  • growth hormone
  • insulin-like growth factor-1


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