Managing dairy cow immunity at calving to produce more milk

A significant relationship between inflammation and milk production

The CCPA Group measured oxidative stress using the DROM test and haptoglobin to evaluate inflammation on two commercial farms around the calving period.

The relation between milk production at 4 weeks and haptoglobin at 7 days post-partum was significant in both farms. Production level on the farms was quite different but the correlation was nearly the same.

Haptoglobin variation after calving (7 d) indeed explained +/-15% of the variation of production. (Robert F, EAAP, 2014).

Mammary cell exploration

Natural plants containing specific active molecules have also been the subject of advanced research for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities (Gonzalez-Gallego, 2007; Seven et al., 2011). For instance, Scutellaria baicalensis is known to modulate the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (Liu et al., 2008). And baicalin is regarded as the most abundant glycoside and determines the quality of the bioactivity of Scutellaria baicalensis.

In order to investigate the mode of action of Baicalin at cell level, the CCPA Group conducted an in vitro study to investigate the effects of Baicalin on bovine primary mammary epithelial cells at the INRA (French public institute of agronomic research) facilities, with Frederic Dessauge’s team. This experiment highlighted the huge effects of Baicalin on several parameters. The most spectacular effect was the ability of the active molecule of Scutellaria roots to protect cells against oxidative stress through the activation of major anti-oxidative genes (Nrf2). Interestingly, mammary cell viability was also improved via a decrease of cell death. Because milk production is directly dependant on the number of epithelial cells producing milk, it could therefore explain the good results obtained on milk production when using Scutellaria in dairy cow feed.

The nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a regulator of cellular resistance to oxidants.

Effects on milk production and other zootechnical parameters

The first trial using Scutellaria baicalensis as milk production improver was published at the EAAP congress in 2014. Twenty-four cows were divided into two groups according to the expected calving date, milk quality, parity, milk production at previous lactation for multiparous cows and genetic indexes for primiparous ones. Basal diet was corn, grass silage and concentrate.

The trial group received supplementation with Scutellaria baicalensis extract during 60 days. Milk production was recorded for the entire duration of lactation.

The results of the trial demonstrated that the Scutellaria baicalensis extract improved significantly milk production by 5%. In addition, fewer health disorders were recorded.

AXION® START for dairy cows

CCPA has developed a patented natural solution with Scutellaria roots and rigorously selected antioxidants (green tea and grapeseed extracts, protected C vitamin). This new way of increasing milk production by managing the beginning of lactation, especially cell oxidation, and inflammation would appear to be very promising.

Field applications show an average response in milk production from +2 to +5 litres. Moreover, we observed better reproductive performance (fewer services per conception) and fewer somatic cells in farms using AXION® START.

AXION® START can be incorporated in the feed using the concentrated form or diluted (100g/day/cow) for direct incorporation in the TMR. The product has demonstrated a 7:1 return on investment.

Ruminant Product Manager at CCPA Group



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