Impact of US Brown Swiss genetics on milk quality from low-input herds in Switzerland: Interactions with season
This study investigated the e ﬀect of, and interactions between, US Brown Swiss (BS) genetics and season on milk yield, basic composition and fatty acid proﬁles, from cows on low-input farms in Switzerland. Milk samples (n = 1,976) were collected from 1,220 crossbreed cows with diﬀering proportions of BS, Braunvieh and Original Braunvieh genetics on 40 farms during winter-housing and summer-grazing. Cows with more BS genetics pro-duced more milk in winter but not in summer, possibly because of underfeeding potentially high-yielding cows on low-input pasture-based diets. Cows with more Original Braunvieh genetics produced milk with more (i) nutritionally desirable eicosapentaenoic and docosapentaenoic acids, throughout the year, and (ii) vaccenic and α-linolenic acids, total omega-3 fatty acid concentrations and a higher omega-3/omega-6 ratio only during summer-grazing. This suggests that overall milk quality could be improved by re-focussing breeding strategies on cows’ ability to respond to local dietary environments and seasonal dietary changes.