USDA Technology May Reduce Milk Fever in Dairy CowsBy
USDA's Agricultural Research Service
has issued a license to an Iowa company for further development of a new product
that could reduce milk fever in dairy cows.
Kemin Industries, Inc., of Des Moines, Iowa, has been granted an exclusive
license to an ARS- patented gel that may cut milk fever in dairy cows by 50
percent. Milk fever is a metabolic disorder that usually occurs within 24 hours
after cows give birth. Each year, about 500,000 U.S. dairy cows develop severe
milk fever, a disease that costs producers $150 million a year.
According to ARS researchers, the gel may be given orally to cows when they
give birth and for the first two days of lactation. Other oral formulations now
used for treating milk fever contain calcium chloride, which is irritating to
the cow's mucous membranes and to the skin of the person administering the
The ARS-formulated gel delivers calcium propionate, a less irritating form
of calcium. Another advantage of calcium propionate is that cows can use it to
make glucose for energy. All lactating dairy cows are energy-deficient for two
reasons: They are using a large amount of glucose to make milk, and immediately
after calving they can't eat enough feed to meet their energy needs.
In ARS field trials with an Iowa Jersey dairy herd, the gel reduced the
incidence of milk fever from 50 percent in untreated cows to 29 percent in
Scientific Contact: Jesse P. Goff, ARS-USDA,
National Animal Disease Center,
P.O. Box 70, Ames, IA 50010, phone (515) 239-8547, fax (515) 239-8458, firstname.lastname@example.org.