DAFM’s Regional Veterinary Laboratories warn of seasonal phosphorus deficiency in some dairy herds this year

DAFM Regional Veterinary Laboratories (RVLs) report a marked prevalence of seasonal phosphorus deficiency in blood samples from certain dairy herds. Of the 73 bovine bloods tested for inorganic phosphorous (Pi) in Athlone RVL in April 2021, 44% had Pi values that were low/below the normal range. The recent dry weather decreases the ability of pasture to uptake phosphorus, also observed in a similar  prolonged dry spell in April and May 2020. Phosphorus deficiency in cattle is associated with weakness, decreased milk yield, infertility, haemoglobinuria and ‘pica’ or depraved appetite (a craving to lick/eat abnormal items such as stones). Veterinary practitioners have been alerted and they will consider seasonal phosphorus deficiency in herds where these signs occur, and will confirm this by blood samples sent to the nearest Regional Veterinary Laboratory.


You are advised to contact your vet for treatment advice if you suspect this condition in your herd.  You should discuss preventive measures with your vet or farm advisor.

Species: Bovine
6:10 PM on Sun, 9 May