TIME4GRAZING: Nutritionists advise to take care with early spring turnout

Nutritionists advise to take care with early spring turnout

With high feed costs comes a natural eagerness to release animals onto “cheaper” spring grass as soon as conditions permit.

And with many already turned out, or turning out in the coming days or weeks, we need peace of mind that they are getting the right levels – no more and no less – of the nutrients required for health and performance. Graph 1 illustrates how typical levels of magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca) and potassium (K) in pasture vary over the spring/summer grazing period.

Nutritionists advise to take care with early spring turnout

The challenge is that we often don’t know whether our animals are deficient until the signs of that deficiency have already started impacting on performance.

Overcoming the magnesium challenge

We all know that spring grass is typically low in magnesium and rich in rumen degradable protein (RDP).

High RDP can lead to an ammonia build up in the rumen, which in turn can prevent effective magnesium absorption.

Furthermore, lush grass that is low in fibre has a higher rate of digestive passage – meaning there is less time available for magnesium absorption.

This is perfect storm is where the danger of magnesium deficiency (known as hypomagnesaemia and often referred to as grass staggers) comes in.

This can impact on all ruminants but not least to mention in pre-calving dairy cows susceptible to milk fever and metabolic disorders when magnesium deficient.

By introducing a molasses-based liquid feed into a buffer TMR ration or as a straight, you are offering 6-carbon sugars that aid in protein utilisation – helping to:

  • prevent ammonia build up,
  • support magnesium absorption, and
  • reduce the risk of grass staggers.

Why feed magnesium through a liquid molasses?

As magnesium is relatively bitter and unpalatable in its raw form, offering it within a high sugar content molasses-based liquid feeds ensures intakes are achieved. The sugar is also known through research to speed up absorption of magnesium across the gut wall.

Working with global leaders ED&F Man – we are the go-to suppliers of molasses-based liquid feeds throughout the midlands to northern parts of the U.K.

Get in touch now to lock-in your minimum liquid feed supply* to cover you for the spring, summer and autumn 2022 period.

Call 01228 520212

 *As a standard indicator, we advise feeding cattle 1kg/head/day and sheep 200g/head/day.