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Milk quality as affected by feeding regimens in a country with climatic variation

Lookup NU author(s): Gillian Butler, Professor Carlo Leifert



To investigate the influence of climatic conditions and season on milk composition, bulk tank milk was sampled on 5 occasions during a period of 15 mo from 20 Swedish dairy farms. These farms included 5 organic and 5 conventional farms in central Sweden and 7 traditional conventional farms and 3 conventional farms growing maize for silage in southern Sweden. Feed data and milk yield were recorded and milk was analyzed for content of fatty acids, carotenoids, and tocopherol. Differences between milk from the 2 regions and between summer and winter seasons were shown. Milk from central Sweden differed from milk from southern Sweden in that it had a higher content of carotenoids, tocopherol, short-chain fatty acids (C4-C14), C18:0, and C18:3 n-3 and a lower content of C16. Summer milk samples had a lower fat content and contained higher amounts of C18:1 cis-9 and conjugated linoleic acid cis-9, trans-11, and lower amounts of C4 to C16 compared with winter milk. Differences between farm types from central Sweden were lower content of conjugated linoleic acid cis-9, trans-11 and higher content of C18:3 n-3 in organic milk compared with conventional milk. In southern Sweden the use of maize silage caused lower milk content of carotenoids and C18:3 n-3 when compared with traditional feeding. Differences in milk composition could be related to climatic differences because legumes are more dominating in the leys of central Sweden and maize growing is limited to southern Sweden.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Larsen MK, Nielsen JH, Butler G, Leifert C, Slots T, Kristiansen GH, Gustafsson AH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Dairy Science

Year: 2010

Volume: 93

Issue: 7

Pages: 2863-2873

Print publication date: 01/07/2010

Date deposited: 21/07/2010

ISSN (print): 0022-0302

ISSN (electronic): 1525-3198

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.3168/jds.2009-2953


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Funder referenceFunder name
FP6-FOOD-CT-2003-506358European Community