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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 01 April 2015

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Wednesday 1st April 2015.
Michael Priestley - Editor

Michael Priestley

Novus International

MSD Animal Health

Cows Not All Equal in Grass Staggers Risk

Not all cattle are at equal risk of magnesium deficiency this spring, say advisers as turn-out approaches for many northern hemisphere operations.

Older cattle are more at risk from grass tetany or grass staggers, and chance of deficiency increases after calving, with diligence particularly important for the first four months post-calving.

These factors all relate to magnesium requirements, with weather, animal stress and grass quality all having a bearing on magnesium availability.

This is South Dakota State University’s advice to its producers, with Cow/Calf expert, Adele Hartley, prescribing pasture species options as long-term prevention strategies for grass tetany. read more

“Incorporate more legumes into pasture mixes, she advises. “Legumes have higher levels of magnesium and calcium than do immature grasses resulting in a better balance across the pasture.”

Delaying turn-out can also help, although Mrs Hartley acknowledges the need to utilize pasture. She says that waiting for grasses to be at least four inches tall allows pasture to replenish.

She says that prevention is the best way and cattle should be supplemented with minerals.

“Free-choice high magnesium mineral should contain 12 to 15 per cent magnesium from magnesium oxide,” says Ohio advisor, Rory Lewandowski.

He highlights the higher risk animals as older cows that have recently calved.

“Mature animals are more at risk than young animals because mature animals are not able to mobilize magnesium from bones as readily as a young animal when blood magnesium levels drop.”

Good practice is to supplement at least a week ahead of the grazing period, he adds. As weather improves and becomes more consistent, the forages mature.

David Thornton, technical manager at Rumenco, in the UK says that spring grasses are not enough due to dry matter content.

“The low magnesium content of spring grass, between 0.1 per cent and 0.2 per cent dry matter (DM), plus the fact that it passes through the rumen quicker, all result in very low levels of magnesium absorption from grazing pastures alone,” says Mr Thornton.

He warns that quantity of magnesium is not important but quality of delivery is vital as research shows that more magnesium sources in a supplement, the greater risk of magnesium ‘lock-up’ is in cows.

Producers, therefore, need to be assured over absorption and smaller particles are best.

“When you compare two sources of magnesium oxide – a granular and powdered form – the powdered magnesium oxide will deliver a higher rate of magnesium absorption in cattle.”

VIV Asia Digital 2015

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This Week's Articles and Analysis

How to Prepare for Grass Tetany, Grass Staggers
As spring comes, Dakota's cattlemen are advised to watch for grass tetany and be proactive about blood magnesium.

How do I Test Soil Health on My Farm?
Monitoring soil health for nutrients maximises pasture production and takes five steps to do, Australia's southern farmers are being told.

What Farms Make Money? Three Common Denominators
What makes a farm profitable? A farm management expert draws on experience gained from working within five land grant universities.

Managing Replacement Heifers for Service at Springtime
Whether home-bred or bought in, heifers are a big part of the future of your operation and represent a doorway to new genetics and higher productivity.

Two Parasites Less Harmful Than One: Cure for Deadly Fever?
African farmers could soon have a vaccine for a deadly fever thanks to a study which found that two parasites are far less deadly than one.

Watch Out: Over a Third of Silage is Wasted From the Sward
Potentially over a third, and at least 15 per cent, of silage grown never reaches the cow.

Company News

80 Per Cent of Livestock Producing Regions Face High Threats from Mycotoxins
GLOBAL - Mycotoxin-related threats to livestock production are severe or high in 80 per cent of regions worldwide according to the latest BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey. Those areas registered three or more major mycotoxins at concentration levels known to cause harm in animals. The survey results provide insights on the incidence of the six major mycotoxins in the agricultural commodities used for livestock feed.
Market Reports

Irish CSO Reports - Livestock Survey December 2014
USDA Agricultural Prices - 31 March 2015
EBLEX Cattle and Sheep Weekly - 27 March 2015
Irish CSO Reports - Livestock Slaughterings February 2015

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