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Phibro Expands Dairy Collaboration, Knowledge of DCAD Nutrition
Illinois Ag Connection - 05/16/2018

Prepartum dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD) nutrition is essential for optimizing the health and performance of dairy cows. Balancing prepartum DCAD diets for transition dairy cows is one of the most effective tools for alleviating hypocalcemia. However, formulating prepartum diets to the optimum DCAD level to lower urine pH between 5.5 and 6.0 and optimize calcium metabolism is a delicate equation. Phibro Animal Health Corp., Quincy, Ill., recently brought industry leaders together to present research and best practices for feeding the ideal DCAD diet to prepartum cows. The goal: share knowledge that could lead to breakthroughs in DCAD formulation and dairy nutrition.

Top dairy nutrition experts participated in Phibro's third DCAD Think Tank. The group, which included veterinarians, researchers and animal nutritionists, spent three days sharing findings related to acid-base physiology, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D metabolism and the interrelationships each of these have with hypocalcemia.

"The fact that so many dairy nutrition experts attended, from as far away as Europe, illustrates the significance of DCAD balancing in optimizing dairy cow health and performance," says Jim Chapman, Ph.D., Dipl. ACAN ACAP, director of research and technical services, Phibro. "The DCAD Think Tank is the latest example of Phibro's ongoing commitment to helping bring forth new research and knowledge around prepartum DCAD nutrition and other factors impacting dairy cow health."

The DCAD Think Tank expands upon Phibro's history of helping dairy farmers mitigate low blood calcium, which may lead to reduced hypocalcemia, among the most prevalent metabolic diseases affecting transition dairy cows. Phibro has invested in other innovations in this area, including:

- The company continues to expand its portfolio for Animate, an anionic mineral that helps to optimize calcium metabolism. This helps reduce the negative impact hypocalcemia can have on cow health, milk production and fertility.

- Animate has been formulated to be highly palatable, so it can be fed in a fully acidified program without decreasing dry matter intake.

- In 2017, Phibro opened a 63,000-square-foot facility in Quincy, Illinois, that includes a state-of-the-art product development laboratory.

- The Animate web site, www.animate-dairy.com, houses resources that provide detailed tips for managing negative DCAD programs.

"The DCAD Think Tank created a platform for the free and open exchange of research ideas, allowing us to share challenges associated with managing calcium metabolism in dairy cows," says Dr. Bill Weiss, Ph.D., Dipl. ACAN, professor, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University. "As an academic researcher, I greatly appreciate hearing from those who work out in the field; it sparks ideas for future research projects."

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