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Balchem Animal Nutrition

Choline for All Cows

Published: November 10, 2021
By: Balchem Animal Nutrition
Choline For All Cows - Image 1
Choline – It’s Essential
Do your transition cows look like the cow on the left? Or do your transition cows look like the cow on the right? As with any population, you probably have a mix of all shapes and sizes in your herd. In the past, the popular belief was that only those cows that were overweight during transition would benefit from supplemental rumen-protected choline. New research now shows that all cows, regardless of body condition score, will benefit from choline and that supplemental choline has a positive impact on your bottom-line.
Though choline is known to be a required nutrient for most species, in dairy cows rumen-protected choline has long been reserved for over-conditioned animals as they transition to the milking string.
The many benefits of feeding choline to dairy cows are well-established and supported by decades of research.  Choline helps cows mobilize and process the NEFA surge experienced after calving, reducing the severity of fatty liver. Choline plays an important role in many metabolic, gene expression and neurotransmission processes:
  • Choline is intricately involved in methyl group transfer, playing a role in energy and protein metabolism, gene expression, and neurotransmission.
  • Choline is an important precursor for synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, a major constituent of all cell membranes as well as milk fat globule membranes.
  • Choline is an important part of exporting fat out of the liver for delivery to the mammary gland and other tissues rather than be stored as fat in the liver or converted to ketones.
Choline for All Dairy Cows
New research completed at the University of Florida1 now clearly demonstrates that all cows, regardless of body condition score (BCS), respond to supplemental ReaShure® rumen-protected choline. Cows in the study responded with increased milk production and components, improved feed efficiency and reduced incidence of milk fever.
Increased Milk Volume and Components
Cows that received ReaShure had increased daily milk yield of 1,80 kg, energy corrected milk (ECM) increase of 1,90 kg and fat corrected milk (FCM) increase of 2,10 kg. This increase was seen across all body condition scores.
Choline For All Cows - Image 2
Improved Feed Efficiency
In the same research studies, cows fed ReaShure were more efficient in converting dietary dry matter (DM) to ECM. Feed efficiency was increased by ReaShure supplementation and was actually better in cows with higher BCS.
Reduced Metabolic Disorders
Though the incidence rates of clinical disease were not affected in these studies, there was a decrease in the incidence of subclinical milk fever. ReaShure decreased the incidence rate of sub-clinical milk fever based on plasma tCa <2 mM postpartum.
Choline is Required
Choline had developed a reputation for helping fat cows transition more smoothly into lactation, but new research now clearly shows it’s equally as important for thin cows.  All cows, regardless of body condition score, respond to supplemental rumen-protected choline through increased milk production and components, improved feed efficiency and reduced incidence of metabolic disorders. And though not all cows respond the same, research proves that delivering choline during transition leads to a substantial return from a small investment. All cows need choline.

1Bollatti, J.M. et al. J. Dairy Sci. 103:2272–2286.

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Stefano Vandoni
7 de febrero de 2022

Thanks for the comment would be happy to help for any more questions!

Lorenzo Quesnel
Perry Brook Dairy Farm
15 de diciembre de 2021
I couldn't agree more.
Umberto Francesa
8 de diciembre de 2021
What about cows on rotational grazing with lower averages than cows in free-stall systems. Is there any benefits reported in the literature?.
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