Spring Fever is here!
Feb 26, 2009
By Sara Brown
I can’t wait for spring! I MEAN I CAN’T WAIT! I had to pull a photo from last summer just to see what green grass looked like. Today, it’s a rainy, 50°F day in central Missouri. Birds are chirping and car washes are lined up to the highway. You would think spring would be close by, but the weather forecasters are calling for snow showers on Saturday.
But spring IS coming. March is only a few days away. That means two things: calving season is in full swing and ranchers are transitioning the cow herd off winter feed as pastures begin to green up. Combined, those two factors can lead to one very big problem—grass tetany.
In basic terms, grass tetany is a magnesium deficiency that develops in spring calving herds grazing on lush forages high in potassium and low in calcium and sodium. Older cows are at the highest risk, as well as cattle grazing on nitrogen-fertilized grass pastures. (The high potassium levels in the forage interfere with magnesium intake.) To manage the problem, provide daily supplements of magnesium to the herd. Check out the grass tetany article
in the Pasture/Forage area of the Cattlemen’s Notebook section of www.beeftoday.com
for daily supplement mixes and options to improve pasture mixes.
How are your calves hitting the ground? I’ve noticed that most animals in Missouri are hitting the ground running, baring any major rain or snow storm. While you are out checking head numbers, let us know how your pastures look by e-mailing your thoughts and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org