26 September 1997

Milk fever cases are up by third

MILK fever cases are running a third up on the levels last autumn, and producers should ensure dry cows feeding is appropriate.

Independent vet consultant Tony Andrews attributes the increase to the extra grass about this autumn and the fact that dry cows are being kept out. This high calcium grass, that could also be low in magnesium, could be triggering milk fever.

Cows need to prime their body to cope with the demand for calcium after calving with low calcium diets before calving, he explains. A dry cow diet of straw and possibly some concentrates should reduce calcium intakes.

Vitamin D injections, high levels of calcium fed just before calving or a bottle of calcium given under the skin, can control milk fever if timed correctly.