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Echuca Village 3564

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"Production is up 21% year-on-year, cows are getting back in calf quicker and the herd has never looked better, in all a great decision bringing Malijo Consulting on board"

Russ & Beck McMillan - Nanneella Vic.


"Hi Mark. Thanks for your visit the other day, for saving me money and making me money. The cows are up two litres/day and I'm saving money on purchased hay, they are going great. Thanks again, Danny".

Danny Leahy - Girgarre Vic.


“Malijo Consulting has helped us significantly increase productivity and as a result improved efficiency, pushing our farming system into the future.                              

 Brad Windridge – Leitchville.


“Since introducing the GT 10 to our herd, the cows have performed better, had lower cell counts and fewer mastitis and never been happier!”                                

Brad Wren – Strathmerton.


Fertility, is it an issue on your farm?

Fertility is becoming if not already the biggest barrier in profitability on dairy farms. 

The team at Malijo Consulting has plenty of ideas when it comes to fertility and the longer term consulting clients are enjoying the rewards of trying new strategies at combatting this ongoing issue.

Fertility is the culmination of your efforts in providing cows with enough energy, balancing their RDP and BP protein requirements, delivering adequate minerals and vitamins to your cow throughout the year and transitioning your cows properly.

DCAD may also be an issue after you have resolved all the other issues on farm; here is a short spiel on DCAD and the return it can deliver while improving fertility.

DCAD was previously thought to be only important in dry cows for lead feeding, however as we realise what an effect it can have on the lactational response of cows and also cow health; the industry has begun to look more closely at the DCAD of the average cow diet.

So what is DCAD? DCAD means Dietary Cation Anion Difference. This is basically (Na + K)- (Cl + S). These ions are found in all fodders and influence the health and functioning of a cow in a negative or positive manner. Basically a DCAD with a lot of Sodium and Potassium is high, and can cause metabolic (in the blood) alkylosis. A low DCAD (high Sulfur and Chloride) cause metabolic acidosis. 

This can be a good thing if we need to mobilise Calcium reserves in a cow, however there is a significant influence on animal performance and fertility if she experiences a low DCAD everyday of the year. 

So how does this work? Basically there are optimum concentrations for these ions and optimum ratios between the Sodium, Potassium, Chloride and Sulfur.

Chloride; for example is the chief anion involved in gastric secretion for protein digestion (NRC,2001).We also know that amino acid metabolism and acid base homeostasis are intimately related (Patience, 1990).Amino acids are the building blocks for the production of milk protein. 

Raising DCAD to 370-400 mq/kg has been shown to improve acid-base balance (Hu et al, 2007). This in turn influences protein test.

Sulfur levels are particularly important in regard to this balance due to their effect on cytochrome oxidases.  This starves the animal of energy and causes all kinds of health detriments including lower milk production and solids production (Crawford, 2007).


Let’s talk money

On some trial farms we have observed a point percentage increase in both protein and fat by influencing DCAD positively. We have also seen an increase of a litre on average.

Cell Count has dropped significantly also. 

If we assume a cow is producing 25 litres at a 3.4% protein test and 4.0% fat; then after optimising DCAD then she will do 26 litres at a 3.5% protein and a 4.1% fat.

In monetary terms, this is equivalent to


Protein :                               25 grams x $9.50

                                                = 24 cents 

Fat :                                       25 grams x $3.00

                                                = 7.5 cents

1 extra litre:                       = 45 cents


Total Increase:                  + 76.5 cents


Cost of Supplement:        - 10 cents

(200 g Bicarb)


Return:                                7.5 : 1


The review by Sharif et al (2010) also implies an increase in the ovarian activity and hormonal profile of cows with a DCAD closer to 400 mq/kg. This means that DCAD has an influence on fertility.




Managing the DCAD of your herd’s diet may be instrumental in increasing production, improving health and increasing fertility.

However it is only going to have an effect if you have solved the energy balance issue on your farm (cows are fed well), solved protein balance and provided your cows with adequate minerals and vitamins. If you suspect your DCAD is of concern you should consult with your nutritionist on how to get your herd back on track.

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