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What makes a DCAD product Future Proof

For many, many years farmers are feeding anionic salts to dry cows. A (scientific) proven and very effective way to prevent milk fever. Success stories are known, but there are also some examples of little success or even failure. The main success factor for the dry period, is feeding a quality dry cow diet that supports good Dry matter intakes (DMI) for the cows. Several other factors are also important, but without good DMI, every dry period strategy will fail.  

In this blog we want to summarize the most important characteristics a DCAD product must meet to have success in the future. 

26-09-2022, updated on 17-10-2022
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Feed intake, palatability, feed intake and feed intake 

Anionic salts are proven in reducing milk fever. The unfortunate characteristic of anionic salts are that they can be unpalatable to cows. Often cows DMI significantly drops when dry period rations contain (pure) anionic salts. Therefore, to ensure good dry matter intakes, the main criteria for any quality DCAD product should be palatability. Therefore, not inhibiting the feed intake. 


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Spread the risk – do not put all eggs in one basket

A DCAD calculation is a linear one, which simply means that the more anions you feed the lower the expected urine pH will be. Measuring urine pH is the main practice to check you are feeding the right amount of anionic salts. Although there are no calculations available that consider the bioavailability of the specific anions. It is scientifically proven that a DCAD product which contains both sulfur and chloride has clearly a more predictable outcome in terms of urine pH, therefore, giving a consistent and reliable acidification of the cow, whereas feeding a single type of anions could be unstable for the cow. Spreading the risk through using 2 types of anions is always the best strategy, ensuring your dry period management approach will work.


Multiple ways of feeding

Theoretically we can calculate the correct volumes of anionic salts in each dry cow ration. In practice farmers need to feed the diets daily and need to ensure the right cows get the correct daily amount. Therefore, any DCAD product needs to have the possibility to be fed in various ways. 

The anionic salts concentration needs to be correct to help us easily feed at a low enough level to allow extra space for metabolic proteins and energy to be added, whilst ensuring we realise the level of DCAD required within each diet. The structure of any DCAD product needs to be robust enough to cope with being mixed in through total mixed rations. Plus allowing the anionic salt product to fed inside farm mineral pack and being added into the production of pelleted compound feeds.  


GMO free

Within Europe and the UK, farmers are prohibited in feeding GMO product to their cows. Therefore, any quality DCAD products need to be GMO free and preferably certified by organization like the Europe wide recognised VLOG that are based in Germany 


Monitoring and up-to-date knowledge

Transition management is much more than just feeding a well-balanced diet. Especially for farmers who do not believe in compromising their transition cows’ diets, therefore expect excellent technical support and back up from their feed suppliers. This is why quality DCAD products need to be supported by experts who can provide proven expert knowledge and good practical advice. 

A good product is not enough

Only feeding a quality anionic product is not sufficient to reach the best transitions goals. A combination of good cow management and a diet that is calculated correctly. Also, a homogeneous mixed ration is just as important a feeding the correct product, ensuring a uniformed composition throughout the ration. Being homogenous helps ensure the correct levels of proteins, energy, vitamins and minerals are included.  


The new AniStart

Phibro Animal Health are continuously looking for improvements in all our processes and products. Phibro manufacture the number one selling DCAD product in the USA. Animate has very strong proven track record in transition management. Due to the outstanding success of Animate in the USA, Phibro looked to develop production of a quality DCAD product within Europe. Using this time to explore new technologies available, the technical teams within Phibro developed AniStart. AniStart is a new, next generation low-hygroscopic anionic mineral, almost double the concentration of Animate, easier to mix on farm and within mineral feeds, it is also highly palatable.  AniStart is also certified by VLOG showing the product is GMO free. AniStart is very palatable, highly concentrated, homogeneous and low hygroscopic, ensuring it is very stable within any style of feed ration 

AniStart: The future of dry cow transition management is here 

For more information about the future of transition management with AniStart, please contact us:  

One of our Phibro transition expert will be happy to visit and discuss our transition concept for your dairy operation.  

Henco Splinter
Henco Splinter
Henco is a dairy technical specialist based in The Netherlands. With his broad experience in animal feed and health he really enjoys working with farmers towards the optimal performance and health of their animals

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