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New strategies to prevent milk fever

Feeding dairy cows zeolite A prepartum has been explored as a feeding strategy to reduce hypocalcemia and prevent clinical milk fever.

It is a pretty exciting time in the field of milk fever prevention. New products, new strategies and new research are here – giving dairy producers more options to prevent milk fever and subclinical hypocalcemia. Historically, milk fever prevention programs attempted to directly alter the calcium status of dairy cows at calving. Historic approaches included feeding pre-fresh dairy cows diets containing anionic salts, restricting dietary calcium, feeding high levels of dietary calcium and administering calcium boluses and pastes post-calving. Progress has been made, but challenges still exist.

So what is the new research – the new strategies? Well, over the past decade, research has given us a much better understanding of the role dietary phosphorus plays in the prevention of milk fever and hypocalcemia. Dairy scientists working in the field of milk fever prevention have long known that feeding excessive levels of dietary phosphorus pre-calving was interfering with calcium balances of dairy cows at calving. Or alternatively, feeding excessive dietary phosphorus was increasing the risk of milk fever, but no practical on-farm management practices emerged from that knowledge. That has changed.

July 17, 2023



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