It’s a fact in the life of any dairy cow that her immunity levels are depressed at calving. To counter that, she might have an inflammatory response to a disease challenge.

But that inflammatory response is a double-edged sword, particularly if it becomes acute, says Barry Bradford, a specialist in dairy nutrition, metabolism and endocrinology at Kansas State University.

Acute inflammation is linked with ramped up neutrophil (white blood cell) activity and function to fight off disease. But it’s also linked to less milk production, poor fertility and greater risk of cows leaving the herd, he says. In some studies, cows with high levels of inflammation produced 20% less milk.”

– Taylor Leach