Multiparous cows (n=34, 89 d in milk, 537kg) housed in environmental chambers were fed a control total mixed ration or one containing monensin (450mg/cow per day) during twop experimental periods: thermal neutral (TN) conditions (constant 20°C) with ad libitum intake for 9d, and heat stress (HS, n=16) or pair-fed [PF; in TN (PFTN); n=18] for 9days.

Heat-stress was cyclical with temperatures ranging from 29.4 to 38.9°C. Rectal temperatures and respiration rates increased in HS compared with PFTN cows (38.4 to 40.4°C, 40 to 93 breaths/min). Heat stress reduced dry matter intake (DMI, 28 percent), and by design, PFTN cows had similar intakes. Monensin-fed cows consumed less DMI (1.59kg/d) independent of environment. Milk yield decreased 29 percent (9.1kg) in HS and 15 percent (4.5kg) in PFTN cows, indicating that reduced DMI accounted for only 50 percent of the decreased milk yield during HS. Monensin had no effect on milk yield in either environment.

Both HS and PFTN cows entered into calculated negative energy balance (-2.7 Mcal/d), and feeding monensin increased feed efficiency (7 percent) regardless of environment. The glucose response to an epinephrine (EPI) challenge increased (27 percent) during Period 2 for both HS and PFTN cows, whereas the nonesterified fatty acid response to the EPI challenge was larger (56 percent) during P2 in the PFTN compared with the HS cows. Compared with Period 1, whole-body glucose rate of appearance (Ra) decreased similarly during P2 in both HS and PFTN cows (646 vs. 514mmol/h). Although having similar rates of glucose Ra, HS cows synthesized approximately 225g less milk lactose; therefore, on a milk yield basis, glucose Ra decreased (3.3 percent) in PFTN but increased (5.6 percent) in HS cows.

Regardless of environment, monensin-fed cows had increased (10 percent) glucose Ra per unit of DMI. From the results we suggest that the liver remains sensitive but adipose tissue becomes refractory to catabolic signals and that glucose Ra (presumably of hepatic origin) is preferentially utilized for processes other than milk synthesis during HS.

Source: Journal of Dairy Science/L.H. Baumgard, J.B. Wheelock, S.R. Sanders, C.E. Moore, H.B. Green, M.R. Waldron, R.P. Rhoads