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Sub-acute Ruminal Acidosis (SARA)

SARA is very common nutritional disorder in modern dairy cows. However, the are rarely diagnosed. 

Here are some common symptoms:

  • Loose and soft faeces

  • Reduced dry matter intake

  • Undigested grains in the dung

  • Reduced milk yield 

  • Increased weight loss in early lactation

  • Ketosis

Recommendations for a healthy rumen:

  • Do not make rapid or frequent changes to the cow's diet. If change in diet is required,  gradually change the diet, giving time for the rumen microbes to adapt.

  • Ensure there is ample supply of fresh water for the cows.

  • Ensure that the diet has long fibre (>2.5cm). Ideal amount required will very much depend on the diet and performance of the cow.

  • It is not encouraged to feed less than 40% forage.

  • Check for sorting. The cows will often sort out material longer than 5cm.

  • It is encouraged to feed total mixed ration (TMR) as it helps to avoid peaks of acid production as well as digestive upsets.

  • With that being said, it is important to not over-mix TMR and consider the following:

    • Include 1-2kg of straw, high quality hay or haylage in the ration.​

    • Include long fibre to the mixer last in order to avoid over-processing.

  • It is encouraged to substitute highly fermentable ingredients such as cereals with rumen protected bypass fats (eg: PalmFat S100).

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