Cattle Producers Update

The following Agriculture & Natural Resources article printed in the 2021 Spring edition of the Oldham County Extension Newsletter.

beef cattle

Feed High-Mag Mineral Now; Updated UK Beef Mineral Recommendations

Cattle producers should be feeding a mineral supplement with adequate magnesium to prevent grass tetany now. This can be provided to cattle using the Hi-Mag UK Beef IRM mineral.

Grass tetany is a serious disorder for cattle. According to Dr. Michelle Arnold, this condition occurs due to a low level of magnesium (Mg) in the blood. The disorder in adult cattle begins with muscle spasms and quickly progresses to convulsions, respiratory difficulty, and death. The amount of magnesium in the blood is completely dependent on the amount obtained from the daily diet. Deficiencies occur most often in beef cows when they are nursing a calf and grazing young, green grass in early spring. Fast-growing spring pastures are high in potassium and nitrogen and low in magnesium and sodium. Affected cattle often have low blood calcium as well. Fall calving cows may also experience grass tetany during the winter months.

Increasing magnesium intake by supplementing with magnesium oxide, offering adequate salt to prevent sodium deficiency, and increasing total energy intake with good quality forage or supplemental feed are all effective tools in preventing grass tetany. These are exceptionally important when moving from winter rations to young spring grass pasture, especially in lactating cows. Grass tetany is considered a true veterinary emergency requiring prompt treatment with magnesium to prevent death.

Resources for Cattle Producers are available online, email, or U.S. mail:

oldham county cattle in pasture

Written by Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent.

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