Phosphorus deficiency (P)

Phosphorus deficiency around calving is a growing problem
A direct need for phosphorus often occurs around calving: the cow loses phosphorus through the colostrum and milk and also absorbs less feed around calving. A decreasing feed absorption around calving is the most important cause of phosphorus deficiency.

Poor absorption
Lack of phosphorus is not only caused by too little supply of phosphorus during the dry period, but more by poor absorption of minerals around calving. Therefore, providing a long-acting bolus with a DCD certification mark such as the Uno Dry  is a must.

Milk fever
A direct need for phosphorus often occurs simultaneously with milk fever (calcium deficiency). A cow with a shortage of phosphorus looks exactly like a cow with milk fever. The symptoms are identical, in both situations the cow can’t stand up.

However, a cow with milk fever feels cold, is slow and reacts to a CMK7 infusion (calcium / magnesium infusion). A cow with a direct need for phosphorus is not cold, is alert and does not (or hardly) react to a CMK7 infusion.


Practical tip
Feel the ears of the cow. If the ears are warm, there probably is a shortage of phosphorus. Cold ears indicate a calcium deficiency.

When a cow is treated for milk fever and responses to the treatment (the cow stands up and eats again), the cow can usually neutralize the phosphorus shortage with his own power. However, some cows are still not able to stand up after several infusions. Those cows need extra dose of  phosphorus. This can perfectly be realised by providing phosphorus boluses.

Points of recognition of a direct phosphorus requirement are:

  • Cow that lay down a lot ("downer cows").
  • Cases of stubborn milk fever.
  • Slow cows.
  • Reduction of rumination.
  • No or barely a reponse to infusions.

Do you recognise the above points? Provide two phosphorus boluses to the cow.