As spring is well and truly on the way most farmers are keen to turn their cattle out. At turnout grass staggers, also known as grass tetany or hypomagnesaemia, is a serious concern for suckler and dairy cows. Grass staggers is a condition caused by a lack of magnesium in the diet. Magnesium is an important macronutrient in a diet as it is required for bone formation and maintenance, nervous system function and rumen fibre digestion.
To help minimise the side effects of grass staggers, long fibre should always be available in the form of hay or silage this will help aid the transition of wet spring grass through the rumen. Maintaining dietary energy levels particularly starch and sugar will help prevent excess rumen ammonia. Futhermore, dry matter intake, an adequate supply of minerals, trace elements, and vitamins, and having a suitable supplementary sodium (salt) source available to re-address the sodium to potassium ratio are also essential. Finally, and most crucially, ensure that stock have regular access to a high-quality magnesium supplement.
Magnesium supplements are available from ForFarmers to help prevent grass staggers. Magnesium chloride flakes have high solubility, this allows a faster absorption into the bloodstream. Magnesium chloride is usually given as a dietary supplement and can also be used as part of a TMR diet. High magnesium cattle buckets are a handy way to provide this essential nutrient, as well as other critical minerals and vitamins to animals in situations where powdered minerals are unavailable, such as sheep at pasture or suckler cows.