‘Tis the Season…for Grass Tetany

‘Tis the Season…for Grass Tetany

Regardless of your address, we can all agree that it’s been a strange winter, if you can even call it that. Record setting high temperatures and cool nights have pastures turning green. The forecasts promise some precipitation as well, setting up decent conditions for pasture growth. The combination of sun, temperatures, and rain is perfect for cool season pastures to take off. While the green pastures are a welcome sight, they can potentially cause grass tetany.

Grass tetany is a metabolic disease brought on by low magnesium in the body and the diet. This occurs most often when cattle are grazing lush, fast growing grass or cereal grain pastures (legumes don’t pose a threat as they may contain twice the magnesium as grasses in the same soil). Mature and lactating cows are more susceptible to grass tetany as they are less able to mobilize magnesium from the bones, where magnesium is stored. Grass tetany symptoms progress rapidly; look for cattle grazing away from the herd, irritability, muscle twitching in the flank, wide-eyed and staring, staggering, collapse, and thrashing. If left untreated the animals eventually fall into a coma and die.

Treating a cow with grass tetany requires a call to the vet and it’s not always successful. A key for preventing grass tetany requires having a very palatable self-fed supplement with adequate magnesium available two to three weeks prior to turnout and then at all times when grazing low magnesium pastures. However, while magnesium oxide is a good source of magnesium, it is unpalatable at high inclusion levels. The tricky part is keeping your cattle consuming the supplement to get the benefit of the magnesium.

Magnesium oxide is bitter and bitter is an inherent intake limiter (bitter plants tend to be toxic). Cattle can also taste sweet and salty, which are intake drivers. The high palatability Framework 365 Minerals and EnergiLass® supplements ensure that cattle grazing high risk pastures are receiving the magnesium they need. Framework 365 Mineral MG, Framework 365 Mineral Performance MG, and EnergiLass® Super Hi-Mag 12 are specially formulated to meet your cows’ magnesium requirements on high-risk pastures that we typically see under cool wet spring conditions.

To learn more about these products, visit our website www.kentfeeds.com, or visit your nearest Kent dealer.

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