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With a promising flush of grass for September, the risk of grass staggers caused by a magnesium deficiency is high. The lush grass can often be low in this essential major mineral. Low fibre grasses pass through the rumen very quickly, resulting in a decreased uptake of magnesium through absorption. Cattle being grazed on fields where fertiliser has been applied have an increased risk of deficiency as both nitrogen and potassium inhibit the uptake of magnesium in the plant. In turn, this reduces the level of magnesium available to the cattle, it is important to remember that magnesium cannot be made or stored in the body so daily supplementation is vital. Figure 1 shows the risk of staggers dependant on time of year, with cows being most at risk in the months of May and October. By giving cattle access to a constant source of magnesium you can greatly reduce the risk of grass staggers, helping to reach their requirements of 30g/day.
Multi-Mag buckets are always a very popular option. With high energy and mineral contents they are successful on most farms. Another option to supplement magnesium is ECV High Mag Rolls. Not only is this a good way to check that every cow is receiving their daily intake of magnesium but the added energy and minerals can help satisfy her nutritional needs and gain body condition lost at weaning, and be source of energy, helping improve conception. 1kg of high mag rolls equates to the recommended 30 grams of magnesium per head per day. Mag rolls are highly palatable and contain a full mineral package. The rolls are 16mm in diameter so are well suited to feeding on the ground via a snacker – no need for troughs. By feeding cows daily they will become used to human contact which can help with temperament whilst handling in the future, along with highlighting any health issues with cows that are not coming in to eat.
Figure 1: Number of staggers cases by month.
ECV High Mag Rolls are available in bulk, tote bags and in 25kg bags. ECV Multi-Mag buckets are highly palatable with 17% magnesium from 3 different sources and are available in 20kg and 80kg buckets. Both rolls and buckets benefit from high mag levels and increased availability to ensure cattle absorb enough magnesium to meet requirements and reduce grass staggers. Speak with an ECV nutritionist about the best and most cost-effective way to supplement your cow’s requirements and discuss what suits your system.