Spring Pasture – Manage for Metabolics
As shown in Figures 1 and 2 below, early spring pasture is naturally low in magnesium and calcium, requiring focused feeding management to ensure calving cows don’t succumb to metabolic disorders. The graphs are showing average Magnesium (Mg) and Calcium (Ca) content as measured in pasture samples analysed over the last four years. Diverse pastures that contain species other than ryegrass and clover may show different levels, although will likely still have a similar pattern due to the mobility of these nutrients.
Figs 1 and 2: Mixed pasture result data –a snapshot of pasture samples analysed at Hill Laboratories form 2018 to 2022.
Fig 3: Excerpt from DairyNZ webpage on magnesium supplementation found here.
Figure 3 has some guidelines for managing magnesium supplementation courtesy of DairyNZ, and other more tailored advice can be sought through advisory services provided by rural merchants or ruminant nutrition companies.
Pasture testing from early spring and through the milking season can be very useful to optimise livestock nutrient intake at critical periods. We have a range of options for testing pastures as shown here, and Feed Sample Kits with full instructions are available to order on our portal. Given that every season is different, and pasture growth in the current season can be affected by conditions back in autumn and winter, then making use of measurement tools such as pasture and feed testing can remove the guesswork and allow for confident supplementation decisions for healthy productive animals.