The factors to consider when moving animals or changing feeding tactics can be overwhelming. In the case of rapid grass growth (as is evident this year), producers are advised to feed a supplement containing magnesium, especially for lactating cattle. This is all in an effort to prevent grass tetany, a metabolic condition that causes animals to go down, and, if untreated, leads to death.
So, when we finally retired the tractor from winter feeding, I took the time to do some reading, and eventually decided to follow up with Barry Yaremcio, a Beef/Forage Specialist in the Alberta Ag-Info Centre.
In this interview, Yaremcio emphasizes the importance of animal nutrition, explaining that there have already been a number of cases of grass tetany reported this season. “A balanced ration is as good as the paper that it’s written on,” Yaremcio cautions, “you need to pay attention to what the cows are actually eating.” When formulating a ration, Yaremcio encourages a multi-disciplinary approach and keeping magnesium levels at a minimum of 0.2% for all classes of livestock.
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