Magnesium deficiency, or grass staggers, is still a significant cause of death in cattle and sheep during the early Spring period. The disease is almost impossible to treat as the onset of symptoms is generally very rapid and for most farmers, the earliest indication that they have a magnesium problem is a dead animal. Given this, advise your customers to adopt preventive strategies to minimise the risk.
The major points to consider are as follows:
1.Provide magnesium to stock prior to the spring grass flush
2.Try and bring cattle in at night for the first week. Especially in cold, wet and windy weather.
3.If lambing indoors, supplement with magnesium prior to turn-out
4.If lambing outdoors, supplement to coincide with the period 2-6 weeks post lambing
5.Try and keep ewes with lambs aged 2-6 weeks on the same pasture – moving them can trigger staggers
6.Reduce silage and any concentrate feeding gradually in the run-up to turn-out.
7.Delay the use of potassium rich fertilisers until later in the year
8.Watch out for poor weather – staggers cases increase dramatically on wet, windy days and frosty nights
9.Consider a belt and braces approach to magnesium supplementation – use a bolus and free access products
The only effective means of giving each individual animal a guaranteed supply of magnesium during the high risk period is by using Rumbul magnesium bullets. These boluses are given 2-3 days prior to turn-out. The boluses last 28 days in cattle and 21 days in sheep and will provide a consistent supply of magnesium, every minute of every day during their active life.
Given current market value of livestock, it does not pay your customers to run the risk of losing animals – get them to start thinking about staggers now.
Rumbul is a POM-VPS licensed veterinary medicine.
For more information on Rumbul click here.