Cows store energy in adipose fat tissue reserves, easily seen in cows with higher condition scores. In early lactation in response to negative energy balance cows mobilise this energy reserve by breaking down this fat in the liver, a process that creates ketones, such as Beta Hydroxy Butyrate (BHBA). A higher level of BHBA indicates the cow is breaking down more of her fat reserves. A lower circulating BHBA level is preferable as it indicates a cow in better energy status.
The Cow Start groups have consistently shown significantly lower milk (BHBA) scores, indicating better energy status. This leads to less body weight loss (fig 1) and quicker body condition score recovery early in lactation (fig 2).Studies 6&6