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Short communication: Feed iodine concentrations on farms with contrasting levels of iodine in milk

Borucki Castro, S.I., Lacasse, P., Fouquet, A., Beraldin, F., Robichaud, A., Berthiaume, R. (2011). Short communication: Feed iodine concentrations on farms with contrasting levels of iodine in milk, 94(9), 4684-4689.


In a previous study, milk iodine concentration from 501 farms across Canada was found to vary considerably and appeared to be influenced by feeding practices. Farms with contrasting levels of milk iodine from a subset of 200 participating farms were used to determine the relationship between milk iodine concentration and the concentration of this mineral in different feeds and complete diets given to lactating dairy cows. The 30 farms with the lowest levels of iodine in milk (low group) and the 30 farms with the highest levels (high group) were selected. Samples of bulk tank milk, all feed ingredients, and water were collected. Additionally, each farmer completed a questionnaire providing information on feeding management. The iodine offered on each of the farms was estimated from the amount of the feed in the diet recommended by the Ration'L software (Valacta, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada) and the iodine concentration in the feed sampled and analyzed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The dietary concentration of iodine offered daily was 33% lower for the low group compared with the high group; that is, 1.20±0.099 versus 1.81±0.195mg/kg of dry matter (DM), respectively. Milk iodine concentrations averaged 146±13.9μg/kg for the low group and 487±44.6μg/kg for the high group. A linear relationship was found between dietary iodine concentration and milk iodine level, as follows: milk iodine (μg/kg)=145 (±66.9)+113 (±39.4) dietary iodine concentration (mg/kg DM). However, the low R 2 value (0.15) indicates that other factors, such as milking management and the presence of goitrogens, may have affected the concentrations of iodine in milk. Forages supplied approximately 17% of iodine requirements in the average lactating cow diet. Therefore, variations in the iodine content of forages are unlikely to cause iodine overfeeding. In contrast, 27% of the mineral mix samples presented iodine concentrations >100,000μg/kg of DM (and up to 322,000μg/kg of DM). More than 85% of the farms tested were feeding iodine levels higher than the dietary iodine recommendations (0.5mg of iodine/kg of DM). Iodine supplements should be used with caution in lactating cow diets. © 2011 American Dairy Science Association.

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