Preventing Magnesium imbalance

Preventing magnesium imbalance through supplementation is relatively simple and highly cost effective. However it must be planned and carried out with care and an understanding of the many factors involved in magnesium intake, availability and absorption as well, if clinical losses are to be avoided. Acute hypomagnesaemia, chronic hypomagnesaemia and milk fever are all classic systems of low blood magnesium levels brought on by sudden nutritional deficiency of the mineral.

The cheapest and simplest way of being sure your stock obtains the magnesium it requires is by feeding it within a compound feed. High magnesium minerals, based on calcined magnesite, require spicing to ensure palatability and because intakes are likely to vary widely between individual animals free access provision is not recommended. Instead mineral mixes should be incorporated into home mixes or mixed in amongst palatable TMR diets as a buffer feed. Magnesium fortified feed blocks or liquids similarly suffer from the unpredictable and highly variable individual intakes. Cold wet weather and insufficient feed points will further add to intake difficulties. Medicated water supply is another option but remember “staggers” is of main risk in cold, wet weather when water intakes are at their lowest.

Whichever method you choose to use start the treatment at least two weeks prior to turnout to get the stock used to the taste. Magnesium is a highly unpalatable mineral and stock will notice the different taste and we all know how fickle appetites can be in the spring. All of our dairy compounds will have higher levels of magnesium built into them well before turnout. Remember that a lot of magnesium can be bought for the cost of a dead animal. Please ring the office or your agent for prices and full details of all minerals and other magnesium supplements available.