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Farmers warned to be aware of staggers risk

With AHDB Dairy last week recording increasing grass growth rates, reaching an average of 22 kg DM/ha/day, many can look forward to lush pastures.

However, farmers are warned to be aware of the impact this can have, considering wet weather from the winter may still be impacting quality.

Requirements for magnesium are unlikely to be met from grass alone, so lactating beef cows are particularly at risk of grass staggers, as with every litre of milk produced, magnesium is lost from the body.

Farmer Focus – John Mellin

Nestled in the Yorkshire Dales, John Mellin runs a successful pedigree Texel flock, however, his focus has recently shifted to his 60 strong pedigree long horn beef herd. After finding some of his stock were magnesium deficient, he decided to take action.

“Over the years we’ve had a magnesium deficiency, and this year we’ve had a long wet winter, so our grass is unlikely to be good enough quality to sustain their needs for magnesium,” says John.

“When the weather changes we’re likely to get a sudden burst of grass, and that might mean our cows are at risk of staggers, so we want to make sure the cows have access to magnesium to counter act the risk.

“We’ve found nutritional buckets work really well with our system, as it lets them control their own intakes. They’re out on grass, so we want to let them support themselves.

“We use Maxx Cattle Mag buckets for the suckler cows, as it suits our system and ensures the cows are protected, especially when they start lactating. We like the buckets for their ease of use, and it helps to keep the cows on track.”