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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Reproductive performance of lactating Holstein cows fed supplemental beta-carotene.

Fifty-six Holstein cows were used in a replicated study to determine whether supplemental beta-carotene improved reproductive performance. Each of two replicates was of completely randomized design with 2 X 2 factorial arrangement of two diets with or without beta-carotene supplementation. On a dry matter basis, diet 1 was 5% hay, 20% haylage, 25% corn silage, and 50% concentrate. Diet 2 was 7.5% hay, 42.5% corn silage, and 50% concentrate. The diets contained adequate amount of vitamins A, D, and E. From 10 d postpartum until pregnancy was confirmed by rectal palpation, half the cows on each diet received a supplement of 400 mg beta-carotene per head daily. The remaining cows on each diet received a supplement of 160,000 IU vitamin A per head daily. Supplemental beta-carotene increased plasma beta-carotene throughout the trials. Median days to first ovulation, first service, days open, and mean services per conception were: 22, 77, 97, and 1.6 for cows receiving beta-carotene supplement compared with 19.5, 73, 82, and 1.9 in controls. Supplementation did not affect first service conception rate, uterine involution, or milk yield. Incidence of follicular cysts, luteal cysts, pyometra, and endometritis in cows fed beta-carotene were 11, 7, 0, and 7% compared with 8, 21, 4, and 13% in control cows. Supplemental beta-carotene did not improve the fertility of Holstein cows.[1]


  1. Reproductive performance of lactating Holstein cows fed supplemental beta-carotene. Akordor, F.Y., Stone, J.B., Walton, J.S., Leslie, K.E., Buchanan-Smith, J.G. J. Dairy Sci. (1986) [Pubmed]
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