Twenty multiparous and four primigravid Holstein cows were utilized in a completely random design to characterize the influence of decreasing prepartum dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) from +388 to +183 meq/kg diet on DMI, prepartum blood profiles, and postpartum milk yield and composition of dairy cows grazed during the prepartum period. Treatments began on wk -4 prepartum, continued through calving, and consisted of 1) pasture and grain pellet without anionic salts (control; +388 meq/kg) or 2) pasture and grain pellet containing anionic salts (AS) (+183 meq/kg). Prepartum cows were rotationally grazed as a single group and individually fed pellets twice daily at a rate of 0.5% of BW/d. Blood and urine samples were collected on wk -4, -2.5, and -1 prepartum and analyzed for Ca, Mg, K, Na, and Cl concentrations. Urine samples were also analyzed for pH. Chromic oxide was dosed twice daily during the last 4 wk of gestation and again for 10 d during wk 4 and 12 postpartum for estimation of intake. Cows calved on pasture and were then integrated into the regular milking herd and fed a total mixed ration (TMR). Daily milk yield and weekly milk samples were collected through wk 14 of lactation. Prepartum and postpartum DMI, milk yield and composition, and plasma minerals were not affected by treatment. No clinical cases of milk fever were observed for either treatment group. Reducing prepartum DCAD from +388 to +183 meq/kg DM did not improve prepartum blood profiles or postpartum milk yield or composition; therefore, this type of supplementation was not economical.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology