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Response of the DCAD of plantain to potassium fertilisation

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 10:57 authored by Pembleton, KG, Hill, BD, Richard RawnsleyRichard Rawnsley
A low dietary cation to anion difference (DCAD) in the ration fed to dairy cows prior to calving reduces incidences of milk fever post calving. Most perennial forage species have a high DCAD and should be limited in the pre calving diet. This challenge is exacerbated when these forages are grown on high K soils (e.g. areas that receive effluent applications). Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) is a perennial forage species with an inherently low DCAD value. This experiment was undertaken to determine the effect of fertilisation with muriate of potash on plantain mineral concentration and DCAD. Seven rates of muriate of potash (from 0 to 300 kg K/ha) were applied in July 2014 to an established plantain pasture located in northwestern Tasmania. Soil and plant mineral concentrations were monitored during the following two grazing cycles. Both soil and plant K and Cl concentrations increased with increasing K fertiliser application rates. Plantain DCAD was unaffected by fertiliser application and averaged 7.6 and 15.3 meq/100g over the first and second grazings. This value was lower than those typically expected for perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Plantain DCAD was correlated with tissue Cl concentration (correlation coefficient of -0.78) but not with tissue K, Na and S concentration, (correlation coefficient of 0.18, -0.25 and -0.22 respectively). It is concluded that plantain will maintain a low DCAD when grown on soils with a high K concentration. This suggests that plantain grown in areas with high soil K concentrations (e.g. fields that receive effluent) will be suitable for inclusion in a pre-calving diet.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 17th Australian Society of Agronomy Conference


T Acuna, M Harrison, C Moeller, D Parsons




Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Australian Society of Agronomy

Place of publication


Event title

17th Australian Society of Agronomy Conference

Event Venue

Hobart, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2015 Australian Society of Agronomy Inc.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Sown pastures (excl. lucerne)

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