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Effect of Mustard Oil Supplementation During Transition Period on Milk Composition and Calves’s Birth Weight in Murrah Buffaloes

Mayur Raju Thul Parvinder Singh Oberoi Arumugam Kumaresan Dimpee Singh Gonge Pranay Bharti Konii Puhle Japheth
Vol 7(7), 132-139

The present study was carried out to evaluate the effect of mustard oil supplementation during transition period on milk composition and calf birth weight of Murrah Buffaloes. The study was carried out at Livestock Research Centre, NDRI, Karnal, using 16 advanced pregnant Murrah buffaloes. Buffaloes of similar body weight and condition, parity and age were selected and randomly allotted to control and treatment group of having 8 animals each. The buffaloes under treatment group received 200 gram/head/day. Mustard oil mixed along with concentrate as per NDRI feeding ration while the control group received molasses (500gm/day/head) as per traditional NDRI ration during transition period to maintain iso-energy feeding in both the groups. Milk samples were collected on 7th, 14th, 21st day for the analysis of milk fat, protein, solid non-fat (SNF) and lactose content. Results of milk analysis revealed highly significant improvement in milk fat percentage (P<0.01) in treatment group as compared to control groups. However mean difference of protein, SNF and lactose between control and treatment group were statistically non-significant. Thus it can be concluded from the study that 200g/h/d Mustard oil supplementation during transition period improved the milk quality and calf birth weight in Murrah buffaloes.

Keywords : Transition Period Mustard Oil Milk composition Calves’s Birth Weight


Nowadays, there is a growing public interest in manipulating the fatty acid profile of milk fat more towards healthier unsaturated fatty acids. Feeding unsaturated oils increase long-chain unsaturated fatty acids in milk fat including conjugated linoleic acid (Schroeder et al., 2000); moreover, it has beneficial effects on milk yield and profitability. The effect of various fatty acid sources like soybeans (Eastridge et al., 1988; Weiss and Wyatt, 2003), flaxseed (Kennelly and Khorasani,1992; Petit et al., 2001), canola seeds (Bayourthe et al., 2000), fish oil (Mendoza et al., 2010), mustard oil (Kathirvelan and Tyagi, 2013) etc., on milk yield and composition have been investigated. Mustard oil is a cheap source of fat supplement for dairy cows and buffaloes used traditionally in field conditions (Kathirvelan and Tyagi, 2013) and have favorable effect on milk composition, because it contains high unsaturated C-18 fatty acids. Mustard oil is also good source of linoleic acid and linolenic acid (Kathirvelan and Tyagi, 2013), the information on the supplementation of mustard oil during transition period in Murrah buffalo on the milk composition and quality is scanty. Therefore, the present study was aimed to evaluate effect of mustard oil supplementation on milk compositional quality in Murrah buffaloes.

Materials and Method

Location, Animals and Feeding

Murrah buffaloes during transition period, maintained at Livestock Research Centre, National Dairy Research Institute (N.D.R.I.), Karnal were utilized for the study. The animals belonging to transition period were selected from 3 weeks pre-calving until 3 weeks post-calving according to Grummer et al. (1995). The experiment conducted as per the guidelines of institute ethical committee and morpho-metrically similar animals belonging to same parity and age; free from any anatomical and physiological disorders and infectious diseases were selected for the study. They were randomly assigned to two experimental groups, a treatment group (n=8) fed with mustard oil (200gm/day/head) in addition to the normal NDRI feeding ration, and a control group fed as per NDRI feeding ration plus molasses (500gm/day/head) (n=8); molasses being added to make the ration iso-caloric with the treatment group.

Sampling and Examination of Milk Composition

Milk sample were collected in 50 ml sterilized milk sampling bottles from individual animal of each milking on 7th, 14th and 21st day postpartum for the analysis of milk fat, protein, SNF and lactose content. Milk sample bottle was pre-warmed at 39-40 ºC before analysis. Fresh milk sample was analyzed for fat, protein, lactose and SNF on day itself by using LACTOSCAN mega netco bulgaria automatic milk analyzer (Funke Gerber, model no. 3510-055007) in DCP division at N.D.R.I., Karnal.

Statistical Analysis

All data were subjected to independent t-test using Graphpad Prism-5. The following equation was used for the analysis.

Yij=µ + Ti + eij

Where, yij= individual mean, µ=overall mean, Ti=treatment effect, Eij=residual effect

Descriptive statistics were used for percentage. Mean separation and comparison was made at 5% of level of significance. P value greater 5% and less than 10% was showed the tendencies to be significant.

Results and Discussion

Milk Composition

Milk Fat

The results of present study showed that milk fat content increased in the group supplemented with mustard oil and overall mean ± SE of milk fat percentage for treatment and control group was 7.38 ± 0.13 and 6.76 ± 0.20 respectively. However, fat content on day 7 was non-significantly higher in treatment group (6.94±0.089 vs. 6.85±0.28) as compared to control group. Significantly higher fat percentage observed in treatment group on day 14 (p<0.01) and day 21 (p<0.001) (Graph 1) than control group.

Graph 1: Milk fat (%) at weekly interval

The present study is consistent with the results of (Biplob, 2011) who reported an increased fat % during early lactation of Karan Fries and Sahiwal cows. Results are similar with increase in the fat content of Murrah buffalo’s milk due to feeding supplemental fat (Srivastava et al., 1990). The results were agreement with Zheng et al. (2005) who found increased milk fat percentage in Holstein lactating cows fed diets containing different dietary sources of vegetable oils. Nawaz et al. (2008) reported that milk fat percentage was significantly higher for buffaloes fed the diet containing tallow compared to those fed the control diet or diets containing poultry fat and mustard oil. In contrary to these results, Donovan et al., 2000 and Keady et al., 2000 reported that feeding of unprotected fish oil during transition period reduced the fat concentration of milk whereas, Kathirvelan and Tyagi (2013) also reported a decreased fat percentage after mustard oil feeding when compared to other concentrate rations without mustard oil as a component. Fat percentage was influenced by fat supplementation, as fat supplementation increases energy density so though the cow is taking less feed but the amount of energy consumed is sufficient

Milk Protein

In the present study, the protein content was only numerically higher in mustard oil supplemented buffaloes on all observed days compared to control group during study period (4.38 ±0.23 vs. 4.04±0.19). The mean ± SE of protein percent for treatment vs. control group on day 7, 14 and 21 was (5.012 ± 0.159 vs. 4.741± 0.241), 14(4.224± 0.29 vs. 3.835± 0.21) and 21(3.938± 0.26 vs. 3.543± 0.14) respectively which has been presented in graph 2.

Graph 2: Milk protein (%) at weekly interval

Similar to our findings, Kennelly and Khorasani (1992), Petit et al. (2004) and Kathirvelan and Tyagi (2013) had also reported a statistically non-significant increase in concentration of protein in milk of dairy animals fed with various fatty acid sources. The present results are also in line with few other works where milk protein contents were not significantly different in buffaloes fed with fat sources (Nawaz et al., 2008). However, the results are in contrast with Lunsin et al. (2012) who observed a linear decrease in milk protein yield when 6% rice bran oil was added in the diet. Fat supplementation increases the efficiency of ruminal bacterial protein synthesis associated with the increased degree of unsaturation of dietary fat (Oldick and Firkins, 2000) and this increased ruminal bacterial efficiency may be due to the decline in protozoal counts that leads to decreased intra-ruminal bacterial recycling (Jenkins, 1993) or to an increase in urea-N transfer from blood to rumen (Gozho et al., 2008). However, a summary of the literature on fat supplementation showed a 0.15% decrease in milk protein when tallow was fed to dairy cows (Shaver, 1990). These differences may be due to different saturation of fat sources.

Milk Lactose

Feeding mustard oil as supplement showed non-significant changes in lactose content between treatment and control group during experimental period. Overall mean ± SE of lactose was numerically lower for treatment group (5.31± 0.27) in comparison to control group (5.58 ±0.32) which has been presented in Graph 3, whereas lactose content for treatment vs. control group on the day 7, 14 and 21 was 4.59±0.14 vs. 4.99±0.31, 5.32±0.27 vs. 5.55±0.27 and 6.03±0.40 vs. 6.20±0.40 respectively. Results of present study are in agreement with the observations of previous studies where non-significant changes in lactose percentages in buffaloes’s milk (Nawaz, 2008) and in cow’s milk (Wu et al., 1993) have been reported. Dietary fat might have spared some glucose from oxidation in the mammary glands, which might result in non-significant increase in lactose content in milk.

Graph 3: Milk lactose (%) at weekly interval

Milk SNF

The variation in milk SNF concentration between treatment and control group was also non-significant in the present study findings. The overall mean ± SE of milk SNF percentage for treatment group was 9.9±0.27 and for control group was 10.02±0.32 (Graph 4). The values of milk SNF followed an increasing trend with progressing days of lactation and the values for treatment vs. control group were 9.73±0.14 vs. 9.95250±0.31, 9.87750±0.27 vs. 9.67± 0.27 and 10.10±0.40 vs. 10.44±0.40 on day 7, 14 and 21, respectively. Similarly, Jash (1995) also found an increasing trend in SNF value weekly, which confirms the current study result. On the contrary, Kathirvelan and Tyagi (2013) reported a statistically non-significant higher SNF in milk of Murrah buffalo fed with mustard oil in comparison to other feeding regimens devoid of mustard oil supplementation.

Graph 4: Milk SNF (%) at weekly interval

Birth Weight of Calf

The mean birth weight of calf found statistically non-significantly higher in treatment group than control group. The mean birth weight of calves for treatment group was 31 ± 0.779 Kg and for control group it was 28.25 ± 1.634 Kg (Graph 5).

Graph 5: Birth weight of buffalo calves

The result corroborated the findings of Bajhau and Keneedy (1990), Skjevdal (1979), Mavrogen et al. (1980) and Romero et al. (1994). Normal energy state of oil supplemented group might have the reason for better birth weight. Fat supplementation lowers the insulin level and the lower insulin level has glucose sparing effect. So this spared energy (in terms of spared glucose) might have diverted towards the fetal growth. Therefore, the birth weight of calf was higher in supplemented group.


The results from present study have shown that mustard oil supplementation during transition period in Murrah buffalo’s considerably improved fat content of milk which is most desired parameter. However, other compositional parameter like protein, SNF and lactose were not affected whereas birth weight was slightly higher for supplemented group. Thus supplementing mustard oil to dairy animals during transition period may have beneficial effect on milk composition and ultimate profitable for farmers.


The authors gratefully acknowledge, Director, NDRI Karnal and Head, Livestock Production and Management section for providing all the necessary facilities to carry the present research work.


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