Fortnightly injections with 500 mg (1.4 ml) of recombinant bovine somatotrophin in 20 dairy cows and heifers at 80 +/- 7 days after calving resulted in increasing milk yields, compared with paired control cows, for three to four days. The advantage was maintained for a further seven to eight days with a decline occurring during the last two to three days before the next injection. The milk yield did not return to the level of the control cows, and the gap between the lactation curves widened as treatment continued, until two to three weeks after the last injection. The cows' response to treatment was greater than the response to heifers. Blood beta-hydroxybutyrate concentrations reflected the higher energy requirements of the treated animals and the weight loss of the treated heifers. Urea-nitrogen concentrations were significantly lower in the treated animals, suggesting that they utilised protein more efficiently. Treated animals had higher inorganic phosphate concentrations, although they remained within the normal ranges. Differences in calcium, magnesium, albumin and globulin concentrations were either statistically or practically not significant.
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