Studies have shown that the lower the DCAD, the better the protection from milk fever for your whole herd. Optimilk Precalving pellets not only have a very low DCAD (-1270 meq#/kg) but have been formulated to make calving as smooth as possible. Don’t compromise, make the effort now* so that you don’t miss out on Fundays around calving.
*21 days prior to calving
The use of DCAD has been one of the biggest developments in dairy nutrition in the last 35 years.
The reason it has been so important is its effect on reducing the incidence of milk fever and other birth related diseases – and the flow on effects this has to the overall health and increased production of the whole herd.
Graph 1 shows the effect of reducing the DCAD and the reduction in the incidence of Milk Fever. By reducing the DCAD of overall diet from 1200 to 0 meq/kg DM, the risk of Milk Fever reduces by over 80%. In real life terms, this is reducing the number of cows with milk fever from around six per hundred cows to one. It is even possible to reduce this to nil cases.
DCAD stands for Dietary Cation Anion Difference. Simply put, food stuffs are made up of positive (+) and negative (-) ions and by measuring these, a score can be given for each food stuff.
For example, the average measurement of DCAD for cereal hay is +300 meq/kg DM, maize silage is +175 meq/kg DM and ryegrass/clover pasture is +700 meq/kg.
It is impossible to get a low DCAD diet using only forages. All forages have a positive (+) DCAD.
Therefore, to offset the positive (+) ions of the forage crops a supplement of additives with negative (-) ions or anions need to be added to the total diet. These additives are known as anionic salts and consist of sulphates, chlorides and phosphates.