Buffers are compounds that neutralize the acid in the animal's stomach. They are added to the cow's saliva as a supplement and help her overcome the negative effects of excessive acid production.
Technically, buffers are different from alkalizers. When an acid or base is added, a buffer keeps the pH level within a narrow range. Examples of common buffers include sodium bicarbonate or sodium sesquicarbonate. You can also search online the best buffers for dairy cows.
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The pH of an alkalizer is directly proportional to its amount. Alkalizers include magnesium oxide and magnesium hydroxide. Both buffers, as well as alkalizer, are essential for neutralizing excess acidity.
Animals' buffering capacity
Cows produce between 10 and 32 L of saliva for every kg of feed dry matter, with an average of 18.2 L/kg DM. The raw material is more likely to produce saliva than grains. The dry matter content, intake of forage, and size of forage particles are all important factors in saliva production.
Feed buffering capacity
High buffering capacities for forages will resist drastic changes in rumen pH. Legumes have a greater buffering capacity than grass or barley silage. Different forages have different buffering capacities so the dietary buffer requirements of cows that eat different forages will be different.
Most commonly, buffers are added to the diet to reduce saliva production in cows that have been fed low amounts of forage or to neutralize excess acidity in the rumen from starchy grain fermentation.