Ongoing R&D on the Application of Calcium Propionate as a Dietary Supplement for Dairy Cows

By Anshula Mandaokar, 19 December, 2022

Calcium propionate has been extensively used as a food and feed additive to deter mold or as a nourishment additive. It has been found that many early lactating dairy cows have been diagnosed with severe health disorders which have negatively impacted milk production. Ruminal fermentation is a vital function linked to dairy cows' health. In current dairy cattle production systems, dairy cows' health and milk production is adversely affected by the mycotoxins in feed and metabolic disease. A recent study states that calcium propionate is a reliable source for treating and preventing metabolic diseases and hypocalcemia (which includes ketosis, milk fever, mastitis, retained placenta, dystocia, uterine prolapse, displaced abomasum, and metritis) for dairy cows in early lactation.

The most critical challenge for early lactation in dairy cows is the difficulty of nutrient intake to meet the nutritional prerequisites of rapidly raising milk production. As per a recent survey, most dairy cows had intricate metabolic challenges with blood calcium deficiencies and negative energy balances. Consequently, to increase milk production, overcome fertility problems, and prevent infectious diseases, adding calcium propionate as a dietary supplement for dairy cows can be incredibly beneficial. Improving dietary calcium and energy feeding levels is a standard practice for early lactating dairy cows to prevent and treat such diseases. In ruminants, calcium propionate functions as an energy source that instantaneously contributes about a 65% increase in energy. Calcium propionate, which can be hydrolyzed into calcium ions and propionic acid in the rumen, has broadly been used to cure metabolic problems in dairy cows.

However, there is still a need for concrete R&D associated with the correct dosage of calcium propionate supplementation for enhancing the energy status and nutrient digestibility of dairy cows in early lactation. Moreover, it has also been discovered that the optimum dose of calcium propionate was 300-350 grams a day, which has resulted in an increased milk yield during early lactation and controlled diseases to a significant extent. Ongoing speculation to improve lactation performance after feeding calcium propionate and increasing daily dosage to increase milk yield is still awaited. Further, farmers and milk businesses also provide dietary supplementation with calcium propionate to attain high yields and profits.

Calcium Propionate in Dairy Cows
The image shows proportion of calcium propionate in dairy cows

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