A meta-analysis review of the effects of recombinant bovine somatotropin. 1. Methodology and effects on production

Can J Vet Res. 2003 Oct;67(4):241-51.


This manuscript presents the results of a review of the effects of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) on milk production, milk composition, dry matter intake, and body condition score that was carried out by an expert panel established by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). The panel was established by the CVMA in response to a request from Health Canada in 1998 and their report was made public in 1999. A series of meta-analyses was used to combine data on production and nutrition related parameters that were extracted from all randomized clinical trials, which had been published in peer-reviewed journals or which were provided by Health Canada, from the submission by Monsanto for registration of rBST in Canada. A companion paper will present the results of the effects of the drug on measures of health, reproductive performance, and culling parameters. Recombinant bovine somatotropin was found to increase milk production by 11.3% in primiparous cows and 15.6% in multiparous cows; although there was considerable variation from study to study. While some statistically significant effects on milk composition (% butterfat, protein, and lactose) were found, they were all very small. Treatment increased dry matter intake by an average 1.5 kg/day during the treatment period and dry matter intake remained elevated on into the first 60 days of the subsequent lactation. Despite the increase in dry matter intake, treated animals had lower body condition scores at the end of the treatment period, and the reduced scores persisted through until the start of the subsequent lactation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Body Constitution
  • Canada
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Eating / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Lactation
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk / drug effects*
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Parity


  • growth hormone, bovine
  • Growth Hormone