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Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Review

Year: 2018

Author(s): Humer, E; Petri, RM; Aschenbach, JR; Bradford, BJ; Penner, GB; Tafaj, M; S├╝dekum, KH; Zebeli, Q

Title: Invited review: Practical feeding management recommendations to mitigate the risk of subacute ruminal acidosis in dairy cattle.

Source: J Dairy Sci. 2018; 101(2):872-888



Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Humer Elke
Petri Renee
Zebeli Qendrim

Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds


Project(s): d-i.INFLACOW: Characterization and prevention of diet-induced inflammation and related immune and metabolic disorders in dairy cows

Advancement of Dairying in Austria


Abstract:
Rumen health is of vital importance in ensuring healthy and efficient dairy cattle production. Current feeding programs for cattle recommend concentrate-rich diets to meet the high nutritional needs of cows during lactation and enhance cost-efficiency. These diets, however, can impair rumen health. The term "subacute ruminal acidosis" (SARA) is often used as a synonym for poor rumen health. In this review, we first describe the physiological demands of cattle for dietary physically effective fiber. We also provide background information on the importance of enhancing salivary secretions and short-chain fatty acid absorption across the stratified squamous epithelium of the rumen; thus, preventing the disruption of the ruminal acid-base balance, a process that paves the way for acidification of the rumen. On-farm evaluation of dietary fiber adequacy is challenging for both nutritionists and veterinarians; therefore, this review provides practical recommendations on how to evaluate the physical effectiveness of the diet based on differences in particle size distribution, fiber content, and the type of concentrate fed, both when the latter is part of total mixed ration and when it is supplemented in partial mixed rations. Besides considering the absolute amount of physically effective fiber and starch types in the diet, we highlight the role of several feeding management factors that affect rumen health and should be considered to control and mitigate SARA. Most importantly, transitional feeding to ensure gradual adaptation of the ruminal epithelium and microbiota; monitoring and careful management of particle size distribution; controlling feed sorting, meal size, and meal frequency; and paying special attention to primiparous cows are some of the feeding management tools that can help in sustaining rumen health in high-producing dairy herds. Supplementation of feed additives including yeast products, phytogenic compounds, and buffers may help attenuate SARA, especially during stress periods when the risk of a deficiency of physically effective fiber in the diet is high, such as during early lactation. However, the usage of feed additives cannot fully compensate for suboptimal feeding management.


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