Hypomagnasaemia, or grass staggers, occurs when the amount of magnesium leaving the cow is greater than the amount of magnesium she is taking in. The onset of staggers can be very fast, because the cow has no way of storing magnesium. She relies solely on her daily intake.
This problem is highlighted when cows go out on to lush grazing. Grazed grass is low in magnesium, exacerbated by its rapid growth rates. On top of this, any potassium application for organic or inorganic fertilisers 'locks up' magnesium and prevents the grass taking it up.
As with all metabolic diseases, for every cow that shows clinical symptoms of the illness, there will be several that are suffering with a sub-clinical case. As the name suggests, one of the things to look out for is any cow that is staggering, but other symptoms include restlessness, over alertness, being excitable or falling and going into convulsions. Unfortunately though, many animals can die with next to no outward signs.
The best prevention of grass staggers is adequate supplementation of magnesium through concentrates and molassed mineral buckets. All of Dugdale Nutrition's dairy compounds contain elevated levels of magnesium from early spring, right through the summer. Whilst Dugdale Nutrition Double Mag buckets are an ideal solution for providing supplementary magnesium to any class of stock.
For further information, please contact your local DN representative or call the office on 01200 420200.