The objectives of this experiment were to determine whether feeding anionic salts to prepartum Holstein cows affected their calf's colostral IgG passive transfer and whether adding sodium bicarbonate to a colostrum replacer (CR) would increase the efficiency of IgG absorption. Forty Holstein cows and their resulting calves were assigned to a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments in a randomized complete block design based on expected date of calving. Three weeks before the projected due date, cows were placed on 1 of 2 treatments: a diet without anionic salts (dietary cation-anion difference of +77 mEq/kg) or a diet with anionic salts (dietary cation-anion difference of -100 mEq/kg). Within 45 min after birth, all calves received 1 dose of a commercially available CR (132g of IgG) without or with supplemental sodium bicarbonate (19.5 g/dose). A half-dose of CR (66g of IgG) and sodium bicarbonate (9.75g) was fed at 6h of age. Calves received milk replacer at 12, 24, 36, and 48h. Blood samples were obtained from calves at 0, 6, 12, 24, and 48h and were analyzed for IgG concentration. Cows fed the diet supplemented with anionic salts had lower DMI on d 8, 5, 4, and 1 and lower urine pH 2 and 1 wk before parturition compared with cows fed the diet without supplemental anionic salts. Calves born from dams receiving anionic salts had similar IgG concentrations (15.1 vs. 14.4g/L) and apparent efficiency of absorption values (29.2 vs. 28.2%) compared with calves born from dams not fed anionic salts. Calves receiving supplemental sodium bicarbonate in the CR had higher serum IgG concentrations at 12 (14.4 vs. 12.0g/L), 24 (16.3 vs. 13.2g/L), and 48h (14.6 vs. 11.2g/L) and higher apparent efficiency of absorption values (31.2 vs. 26.1%) than calves that did not receive sodium bicarbonate in the CR. Calves receiving sodium bicarbonate also had greater area under the curve values for IgG absorption compared with calves not receiving sodium bicarbonate. There was a trend for an interaction with calves born from dams fed anionic salts having a greater area under the curve when fed supplemental sodium bicarbonate. Of the 40 calves in the study, 90% obtained adequate passive transfer (serum IgG > or = 10g/L). This study indicates that feeding anionic salts to the dam has no effect on passive transfer, whereas adding sodium bicarbonate to the CR increased IgG uptake in calves.