A meta-analysis was conducted to assess production responses before 90 d in milk (DIM) when bovine somatotropin (bST) administration was initiated between 5 and 35 DIM. The database was developed from 13 studies of multiparous cows that were published between 1985 and 2006 and from an unpublished study that complied with the study selection criteria. The database included results from 842 cows and provided 50 treatment means for the effect of bST on 3.5% fat-corrected milk (FCM) in early lactation. Effects of bST were investigated using mixed model procedures that included fixed (intercept and slope) and random (intercept and slope) effects for independent variables. Yields of milk (38.6 ± 1.3 kg/d) and FCM (37.6 ± 1.6 kg/d) by control cows before 90 DIM were increased by 2.6 ± 0.8 and 3.2 ± 0.6 kg/d by bST administration. Fat content in milk from bST-treated cows was 0.31 ± 0.10 percentage units greater than that from control cows (3.46 ± 0.13%) but milk protein content (2.95 ± 0.03%) was not altered by bST. Milk fat (1.39 ± 0.10 kg/d) and protein (1.15 ± 0.04 kg/d) yields by controls were increased 0.16 ± 0.03 and 0.07 ± 0.03 kg/d by bST, respectively. Dry matter intake and body weight loss were not altered by bST before 90 DIM, but duration of negative energy balance was prolonged and overall energy balance during this interval reduced when cows were treated with bST. Results are consistent with the premise that bST-treated cows partition nutrients and energy toward milk synthesis for a longer duration and thus likely need a longer interval to replenish their body reserves than cows not treated with bST. Production responses to bST were not altered when cows consumed typical early-lactation diets supplemented with fat except that supplemental fat tended to decrease the magnitude of the effect of bST on milk fat content and decreased the effect of bST on fat and protein yield. Yield of FCM increased curvilinearly with the amount of bST administered. Results indicate that initiation of bST administration to cows before 35 DIM increased FCM yield but the response was at the low end of that typically observed when bST administration is initiated in wk 9 of lactation.
- Bovine somatotropin
- Early lactation