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Effects of Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Oxide, and a Commercial Buffer Mixture in Early Lactation Cows Fed Hay Crop Silage1

Journal of Dairy Science
American Dairy Science Association
DOI: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(86)80576-8
  • Production Research Papers


Abstract Sixteen early lactation Holstein cows fed 70% concentrate: 30% hay crop silage were used to determine effects of .7% sodium bicarbonate, .7% sodium bicarbonate plus .28% magnesium oxide, or 1.8% commercial buffer mixture (total ration dry basis). This mixture contained a variety of buffers, alkalis, and other compounds known to affect milk production or composition in some circumstances. Buffers did not affect dry matter intake, milk yield, or milk composition but decreased efficiency of milk production. Ruminal fluid pH was not affected, but fecal pH and digestibilities of dry matter, organic matter, energy, acid detergent fiber, and cellulose were increased by the mixed buffers compared with sodium bicarbonate alone. Total ruminal volatile fatty acid concentration was reduced by buffers. Compared with sodium bicarbonate alone, mixed buffers increased ruminal ammonia concentration, acetate proportion, and acetate:propionate ratio and decreased proportions of propionate and butyrate. Valerate was reduced by all three buffers. Ruminal volume and liquid dilution rate were unaffected, but buffers increased total fluid outflow from the rumen. Higher amounts of buffers or alkalis may be necessary to offset low rumen pH and affect production with hay crop silage-based diets.

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