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26 Aug

Take Steps To Minimise Grass Stagger Threat

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Hypomagnesaemia, more commonly known as grass staggers, is a clinical condition caused by lack of magnesium in the diet and is a particular threat for suckler and dairy cows at grass. As a vital macro-nutrient, magnesium is not only required for bone growth and nervous system function, but also to aid essential fibre digestion within
the rumen. Consequently, animals suffering from staggers show symptoms such as agitation, twitchiness and depressed performance. Grass staggers is typically observed in both spring and autumn, following rapid grass growth and lower forage intakes due to wetter grazing conditions. Lush grass contains low levels of magnesium and when combined with its rapid passage rate through the digestive system, very low levels of the nutrient are actually absorbed into the animal’s bloodstream. Despite bones storing relatively large quantities of magnesium, this is not readily available for use when dietary supply is compromised, plus high potassium levels found in autumn grazing can reduce magnesium absorption in the rumen. Daily magnesium supplementation is relied upon
to maintain adequate blood magnesium levels during risk periods, such as the approaching autumn months.

Estimations suggest just 1% of the UK cattle herd will experience clinical hypomagnesaemia, however, the negative financial impacts of the condition should not be overlooked. Up to 30% of clinical cases result in death and many more animals are likely to experience sub-clinical cases, which may significantly reduce overall health and performance. It is therefore clear to see how declines in productivity and losses associated with grass staggers can dramatically diminish the overall profitability of your stock.
With autumn 2020 fast approaching, now is the time to assess the risks of magnesium deficiency on your farm and address them with a suitable supplement. OPTI-LIX CATTLE MAGNESIUM lick contains a high level of bioavailable magnesium, ideal for suckler cows and milking heifers on autumn grass where there is a high risk of staggers. As magnesium is typically unpalatable, it is often tricky to ensure stock receive the necessary daily
dose of the mineral. Fortunately, OPTI-LIX CATTLE MAGNESIUM buckets offer a simple and effective method of magnesium supplementation. This low moisture, molassed lick contains a high level of digestible sugar so is extremely palatable, providing farmers with extra reassurance of consistent and controlled magnesium intake during risk periods. OPTI-LIX CATTLE MAGNESIUM also provides an optimal balance of other essential
minerals, vitamins and trace elements, including a source of chelated zinc, to help counteract any potential deficiencies in forage and help support good animal health and performance.

• Contains high levels of palatable magnesium to help avoid grass staggers
• Low moisture for controlled, consistent intakes
• Fortified with additional vital minerals, vitamins and trace elements to support stock health and performance
• Contains protected zinc to help support hoof health where there is risk of lameness
• Suitable for all types of cattle at risk from grass staggers, especially lactating heifers and suckler cows on autumn grass