Estimates put the cost of clinical milk fever at $334 per case. That’s why it’s so critical to maintain a dry cow’s calcium status. Phillip Jardon, of Standard Nutrition, discussed strategies for reducing milk fever last month at World Dairy Expo. One strategy is to keep phosphorus low during the dry period.

Although phosphorus helps lower blood and urine pH, too much can be a bad thing. Jardon cited a Journal of Dairy Science study from earlier this year that showed the incidence of milk fever doubled when the percent of phosphorus in the diet increased from 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent. So, feed no more than 30 to 40 grams per cow per day, he says.