Production, milk iodine, and nutrient utilization in Jersey cows supplemented with the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum (kelp meal) during the grazing season.

Academic Article


  • Kelp meal (KM) is a supplement made from the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum, known to bioaccumulate iodine (I) and to be the richest source of phlorotannins, which can inhibit ruminal proteolysis and microbial growth. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of KM on production, milk I, concentrations of blood metabolites, apparent total-tract digestibility of nutrients, and CH4 emissions in grazing dairy cows. Eight multiparous Jersey cows averaging (mean ± SD) 175 ± 60 d in milk and 12 primiparous Jersey cows averaging 142 ± 47 d in milk at the beginning of the study were assigned to either 0 g/d of KM (control diet, CTRL) or 113 g/d of KM (brown seaweed diet, BSW) in a randomized complete block design. Diets were formulated to yield a 70:30 forage-to-concentrate ratio and consisted of (dry matter basis): 48% cool-season perennial herbage and 52% partial TMR (pTMR). Each experimental period (n = 3) lasted 28 d, with data and sample collection taking place during the last 7 d of each period. Cows had approximately 16.5 h of access to pasture daily. Herbage dry matter intake increased, and total dry matter intake tended to increase in cows fed BSW versus the CTRL diet. Milk yield and concentrations and yields of milk components were not affected by diets. Similarly, blood concentrations of cortisol, glucose, fatty acids, and thyroxine did not change with feeding CTRL or BSW. However, a diet × period interaction was observed for milk I concentration; cows offered the BSW diet had greater milk I concentration during periods 1, 2, and 3, but the largest difference between BSW and CTRL was observed in period 2 (579 vs. 111 µg/L, respectively). Except for period 2, the concentration of milk I in cows fed KM did not exceed the 500 µg/L threshold recommended for human consumption. Diet × period interactions were also found for serum triiodothyronine concentration, total-tract digestibilities of crude protein and acid detergent fiber, CH4 production, and urinary excretion of purine derivatives. Overall, the lack of KM effects on milk yield and concentrations and yields of milk components indicate that dairy producers should consider costs before making KM supplementation decisions during the grazing season. Future research is needed to evaluate the concentration of I in retail organic milk because of the high prevalence of KM supplementation in northeastern and midwestern US organic dairies and possibly in other regions of the country.
  • Authors

  • Antaya, NT
  • Ghelichkhan, M
  • Pereira, ABD
  • Soder, KJ
  • Brito, Andre
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 2019
  • Published In


  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Ascophyllum
  • Cattle
  • Dairying
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Digestion
  • Fatty Acids
  • Female
  • Iodine
  • Kelp
  • Lactation
  • Milk
  • Nutrients
  • Random Allocation
  • milk yield
  • organic agriculture
  • pasture
  • supplementation
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 31279546
  • Start Page

  • 8040
  • End Page

  • 8058
  • Volume

  • 102
  • Issue

  • 9