The USA and Canada, are well known for following the DCAB approach to dry cow management, however, a new focus is getting their attention and is proving a lot easier to manage with more secure control.
X-Zelit is giving farmers better results, with a significant reduction in clinical and sub-clinical milk and subsequent metabolic diseases. Fertility is significantly improved as well as general animal health, leading to easier calving and easy dry cow management all round.
A DCAB approach has long been used by the US and Canada to manage the dry period where nutritional requirements differ at calving. The correct blood calcium level at calving is the most important factor to ensure good healthy start to the lactation. Calcium levels are crucial for proper muscle function and pay a pivotal role in supporting the immune system. At calving there is a sudden demand for calcium to produce colostrum, this can drop blood calcium levels which can impair the cow’s health and productivity
A DCAB system sees diets formulated to include anionic salts, (such as magnesium chloride), to acidify the blood and promote calcium absorption. Whilst results with these diets can be favourable, they require intensive management to avoid any variability, and can prevent the use of grass silage, or hays in dry cow diets as these often contain high levels of potassium. Evidence shows that this approach can be detrimental to feed intake.
X-Zelit differs from the DCAB approach and works by binding calcium in the gut thus stimulating the cow’s own hormonal system to mobilise body reserves creating a perfect calcium balance at calving.
In recent years there has been a shift towards the calcium binder X-Zelit and farms are really seeing the benefits with little effort. The treatment is simply mixed into your regular feed 2-3 weeks prior to calving and suits any diet – no intensive management required!
A recent study by Cornell University proved that X-Zelit has a positive effect on fertility. The farm trial was based on a well-managed farm averaging over 15,000 litres per year and was experiencing zero cases of clinical milk fever. The results of treating the dry cows with X-Zelit two weeks from calving is shown in the graph.