Buffers are compounds that counter an increase in acidity within the rumen. We will be discussing dietary buffer supplementation and the issues that need to be considered.
The pH of saliva is around 8.4 and the cow produces it as a buffer. The cow will produce between 10 and 32 liters per kilogram of dry matter, but more saliva if there is a lot of roughage. You can also get more information about the best buffers for dairy cows via https://www.feedworks.com.au/product/ruminants/acid-buf-3/.
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Low forage percentage, 45% to 5% of DM or less
Forage sources include corn silage and other fermented, wet forages.
During early lactation, dry matter intake is lower than expected
One study found that the buffered diet heifers gained more weight. The buffered diet's feces contained less starch and had a higher pH. The best result was a 44% decrease in feed needed per unit gain for the heifers who were fed the buffered diet.
Supplementation with dietary buffers in high-producing lactating mammals maintains rumen homeostasis and resists any changes in pH. Buffers can prevent the growth of acid-tolerant Lactobacilli and reduce the potential for rumen pH to drop.
Composition and yield of milk
Supplementation with dietary buffers tends to increase DM intake, nutrient digestibility, and thus maintain high productivity in lactating mammals. Through the above-mentioned mechanisms, buffers can also help maintain high milk fat. However, the effects of dietary buffers upon milk protein content are not as well understood as those on milk fat.