Raising beef cattle can be a great way to turn your love of animal husbandry into a profitable business. But managing a herd of cattle is a complex process, and the quality of the meat your cattle produce starts with proper nutrition. Feeding your cattle the right blend of vitamins and minerals is essential for growth, nourishment, and ultimately marbling and quality of the cuts of meat cattle produce.
Being able to recognize potential nutrient deficiencies is a critical component of any cattle management program, and a skill that you can easily develop by knowing how to recognize simple signs of grass tetany in your herd.
Grazing isn't always the best option.
Cattle can certainly survive by foraging for grass and undergrowth, but having your herd rely solely on grass to meet their nutritional needs might not be your best option when trying to improve the quality of your meat.
Many grassy areas have been treated with fertilizers that compromise the magnesium availability of each blade. When cattle are not able to absorb enough magnesium through the foods they eat, a potentially life-threatening metabolic disorder known as grass tetany can ensue.
Test your pastures to assess risk.
Before turning your cattle out to graze in a specific pasture, be sure that you know whether or not that pasture poses a risk of contributing to grass tetany over time. Soil tests to determine the potassium and aluminum content of the dirt out of which pasture grass is growing can be a useful tool in preventing grass tetany.
Soils that are treated with fertilizers tend to have higher potassium and aluminum concentrations, which will reduce the magnesium availability of the grass growing in your pasture. Allowing your animals to graze in high-risk pastures could lead to difficulties with coordination, an uneven gait, and convulsions—all symptoms of grass tetany.
If prevention isn't effective, take action.
In addition to knowing how to try and prevent grass tetany from plaguing your beef herd, you need to know how to take proper action should any of your animals begin displaying the symptoms of grass tetany.
Immediately move affected animals out of pasture areas, and begin administering a supplemental dose of magnesium along with a high-protein feed that can easily be digested. You can also treat high-risk pastures that produce grass tetany with dolomite or a limestone additive to increase the magnesium availability of the grass growing within the pasture.
For more options for feeding your cattle, reach out to healthy cattle feed suppliers in your area, such as Ruma-Lic Liquid Feed.