Phosphorus deficiency (P)

Phosphorus deficiency around calving is an increasing problem
A direct need for phosphorus often occurs around calving: the cow loses phosphorus through the colostrum and milk, and also consumes less feed around calving. A decreasing feed intake around calving is the main cause of phosphorus deficiency in cows.

Poor absorption
Phosphorus deficiency is therefore not only caused by an insufficient phosphorus supply 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 phosphorus deficiency is similar to a cow with milk fever. The symptoms are identical, in both situations the cow cannot stand up.

However, a cow with milk fever feels cold, is slow and responds 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 cow's ears. Warm ears usually indicate a phosphorus deficiency; 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 on its own. However, some cows are still not able to stand up after several infusions. These cows need extra phosphorus. This can perfectly be realised by providing phosphorus boluses.

Points of recognition of an immediate phosphorus need are:

  • Cows that lie 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.