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https://doi.org/10.5713/ab.21.0079    [Accepted] Published online June 23, 2021.
A comparative analysis of rumen pH, milk production characteristics, and blood metabolism of Holstein cattle according to the forage ratio for the establishment of objective indicators of the animal welfare certification standard
DongJin Baek1,*  , Hyoun Chul Kwon Kwon2  , Ah Lyum Mun1  , Joo Ri Lim Lim1  , Sung Won Par Park1  , Jin Soo Han3,* 
1Animal Protection and Welfare Division, Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency Gyungbuk 39660, Korea
2Department of Animal Science, Jeonbuk National University, Jeonju 54896, Korea
3Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine & Institute for the 3Rs, College of Veterinary Medicine, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea
Correspondence:  DongJin Baek, Tel: +82-54-912-0520, Fax: +82-54-912-0528, Email: baekdj@korea.kr
Jin Soo Han,Email: baekdj@korea.kr
Received: 22 February 2021   • Revised: 29 March 2021   • Accepted: 12 May 2021
Abstract
ABSTRACT Objective: This study was conducted to present an objective index that can be quantified and statistically analyzed by comparing rumen pH, ruminating time, milk yield, milk quality, and blood components among cows from farms with forage ratios of 90% or more of grass feed and farms that routinely manage more than 40% of the forage ratio, in consideration welfare of Holstein cow welfare.
Methods
Data on rumen pH, rumination time, milk yield, milk fat ratio, milk protein ratio, and blood metabolism were collected from 12 heads from a welfare farm (forage rate 88.5%) and 13 heads from a conventional (forage rate 34.5%) three days in October 2019.
Results
The rumination time was significantly longer in cattle on the welfare farm than on the conventional farm (p<0.01), but ruminal pH fluctuation was significantly greater in the cattle on conventional farm than the welfare farm (p<0.01). Conventional farms with a high ratio of concentrated feed produced a higher average daily milk yield than welfare farms, but milk fat and milk production efficiency (milk fat and milk protein corrected milk/total digestible nutrients) was higher in cattle on welfare farms. Blood test results showed a normal range for both farm types, but concentrations of total cholesterol and NEFA were significantly higher in cows from conventional farms with a high milk yield (p<0.01).

Conclusion

The results of this study confirmed that cows on the animal welfare farm with a high percentage of grass feed had better rumen pH, milk production efficiency, and various blood metabolism parameters compared to those on the conventional farm.
Keywords: Animal Welfare, Holstein; Ruminal pH, Rumination Time, Blood Metabolic
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