Pasture-fed herds or forage-heavy ration formulations as well as those using the the low calcium approach to DCAD management will benefit from PasturChlor's low dietary calcium, and essential supplemental magnesium.
The "Low Calcium Approach" to Preventing Milk Fever
Studies published in The Journal of Dairy Science (Goings et al, Vol. 57, Pages 1184-1188; and Green et al, Vol. 64, Pages 217-226) found that feeding very low amounts of absorbable calcium can actually increase the utilization of calcium from the bones. Other research (British Journal of Nutrition, volume 126, page 531) revealed that reducing DCAD before calving would nearly double the amount of bone calcium that a cow could use during that critical time around calving.
Achieving absorbable calcium intakes low enough to stimulate bone calcium utilization is often difficult because the calcium content of many forages is too high. Furthermore, grain supplements fed prior to calving may also contain some calcium that is even more bioavailable than in forages. This further contributes to the amount of absorbable calcium in the diet. If the total calcium concentration in the diet is 0.5% or less, there is a chance that the amount of absorbable calcium will be low enough to make the "low calcium approach" to managing milk fever successful.
Since grazing cows generally consume less forage dry matter than cows fed in confinement, the chances of success with the "low calcium approach" may be better with pasture-fed cows. However, there are nutritionists and dairymen who advocate the "low calcium approach" with confinement-fed cows, too.
With either feeding situation, the chances of success with the low calcium approach are further enhanced by DCAD reduction. A review of 22 published scientific studies (Journal of Dairy Science, volume 89, page 537) confirmed that adding dietary anions reduces the incidence of clinical milk fever. Less milk fever means fewer of the negative health events associated with it. Furthermore, adequate blood calcium at calving promotes better feed intake and milk production after calving.
PasturChlor® - Prevent Milk Fever in Your Pasture-based Dairy
The freshening period should be an exciting time when dairy producers can look forward to a new season of productive cows. But too many cows are stricken with milk fever, leading to unacceptable death losses, ongoing herd health problems and high veterinary bills.
Now You Can Do Something About It
Feeding PasturChlor® to lower the dietary cation and anion difference (DCAD), as part of a low-calcium pre-freshening diet, can significantly reduce the potential for milk fever and subclinical hypocalcemia.
The Impacts of Hypocalcemia
At freshening, the dairy cow needs to be able to replace calcium removed from the blood stream by the sudden onset of milk and colostrum production. If the blood calcium is not replaced efficiently, the cow will experience milk fever. Cows stricken with milk fever go down and cannot get up without intervention. Many other cows will suffer subclinical hypocalcemia, which may not put a cow down, but can lead to a variety of other short-and long-term health problems.
Greater Risk in Pasture-based Operations
As many as one-half of the cows in your herd could be susceptible to milk fever or subclinical hypocalcemia during freshening and nearly two-thirds of cows in their third and subsequent lactations could be affected. The problems can be especially common in pasture-based systems. Traditional forages, including alfalfa and grasses common in tropical and subtropical climates, as well as pastures in which manure is applied for fertilization, tend to have high levels of potassium, a cation. Dietary cations alkalize a cow's blood and inhibit the utilization of dietary calcium as well as calcium stored in bones. The bones are a natural storage deposit for useable calcium, but metabolic conditions must be right for its mobilization into the blood.