Multi-breed herd approach to detect breed differences in composition and fatty acid profile of cow milk

Carmen L. Manuelian*, Mauro Penasa, Giulio Visentin, Anna Benedet, Martino Cassandro, Massimo De Marchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of the present study was to estimate the effect of breed on milk fatty acid (FA) composition of dairy (Brown Swiss, Holstein-Friesian, and Jersey) and dual-purpose cows (Simmental and Alpine Grey) in multi-breed herds. Information on individual milk samples was collected during routine cow milk testing between 2011 and 2014, and consisted of 285 606 observations from 17 445 cows in 617 herds. Fixed effects included in the mixed model were breed, parity, stage of lactation and the interaction between parity and stage of lactation, and random effects were cow, herd-test-date and residual. Contrast estimates for the studied traits were used to compare specific sets of breeds. Holstein-Friesian produced more milk than the other cattle breeds, with the greatest trans FA and C18:1 and the lowest C18:0 content. Comparison between the specialised dairy vs the dual-purpose breeds highlighted significant differences for all traits except for polyunsaturated FA and trans FA content. Specialised dairy breeds had greater milk saturated FA, short-chain FA, medium-chain FA, C14:0 and C16:0 content, and dual-purpose breeds produced milk with greater content of monounsaturated FA, long-chain FA, C18:0 and C18:1. Results demonstrated that, although specialised dairy produced more milk than dual-purpose breeds, milk FA profile of the latter was more favourable from a human nutrition point of view.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalCzech Journal of Animal Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Dairy specialised breed
  • Dual-purpose breed
  • Mid-infrared spectroscopy
  • Phenotyping


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