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STOP STAGGERS IN ITS TRACKS THIS AUTUMN

The autumn flush of grass has arrived, and as days draw in, temperatures fall and weather patterns become more variable, then the combination of lush grass growth combined with these additional stresses sees focus turn back to grass staggers and potential stock losses. 

Whilst the average annual incidence of hypomagnesaemia, commonly called grass staggers, is only 1% in the UK, it is estimated that up to 30% of these cases result in animal death so prevention is certainly better than cure!

maxx-cattle-mag-update-pic1.jpgThe autumnal flush of grass sees ‘luxury uptake’ of potassium (an average peak of 3.33%) in the plant as it grows at this time of year to levels even higher than those reported in spring grazing. And it is these high potassium levels which reduce magnesium absorption in the rumen of the animal leading to problems.

The wetter grazing conditions that generally occur during autumn add a further complication – low dry matter forages pass through the digestive tract more quickly, meaning there is less chance for the nutrients and minerals (specifically magnesium in this instance) to be absorbed.  This is a key factor as magnesium is not readily available from sources other than dietary. 

Whilst various magnesium supplements are available on the market, molassed licks offer a convenient and effective method of supplying magnesium daily, whilst also providing a range of other essential minerals and vitamins critical for good cattle health and performance, but are often deficient in grazing-based diets.

maxx-cattle-mag-update-pic2.jpgThe main problem facing suckler and dairy producers with magnesium-based products is palatability. Its like asking us to eat strawberries without sugar – add sugar, and voila, sweet strawberries fit for Wimbledon! This same principle can be applied to magnesium supplementation for cattle, which is why MAXX Cattle Mag with a sugar content of 35% helps mask the bitter taste of magnesium, for assured intakes where the risk of grass staggers prevails. 

MAXX Cattle Mag ticks all the boxes when it comes to palatability and with 10.5% bioavailable magnesium and a complete range of mineral and vitamins, including copper, it offers the necessary support for productive animals in both beef and dairy herds alike. We would recommend offering MAXX throughout the autumn grass staggers risk period, at a rate of 1 lick per 15 head of cattle, which will typically last around a week.

DOWNLOAD OUR MAGNESIUM UPDATE - PDF