Phil recently attended Lachlan Fertilizers Grenfells Expo where he spoke to local farmers about several topics.
BUT, with the green can come some problems, the new grass will have a high moisture content and dry matter could be as low as 13%, all feeding values are based on DRY MATTER CONTENT which ideally is over 70% and hays being around 90% along with most grains. If, your stock are suddenly cut off from supplementary feeding and have grass alone they will suffer from a “green drought” and can actually starve on a full stomach.
Animals in poorer condition or carrying parasite burdens will be more susceptible to things like grass tetany, nitrate poisoning, pulpy kidney, lambing sickness, increased worm burdens and others.
I would advise, if, you have any hay or grain available you keep feeding it gradually reducing the amount as the forage bulk increases. If, you have sorghum stubble, sudan grass, lucerne, green oats, barley, corn, canola, soybeans or wheat all of these can precipitate nitrate poisoning especially the lower leaves Prevention can be as simple as feeding roughage before grazing in “at risk” situations. Grazing during the day and shutting the stock off these areas at night. Possibly and only possibly, stock which have had access to a good mineral mix or even blocks containing alkaline salts, sulphur, phosphorus and molybdenum could be less at risk as low levels of these elements along with low temperatures and acidity in soils are known to increase nitrate uptake by plants. Some workers advocate vitamin A as an injection or drench. Generally, the recognised treatment is a 1 to 4 percent solution of methylene blue containing 5 percent dextrose as an intravenous injection to allow 1 gram of methylene blue per 100 Kg of Body weight. 125 to 250 mL per adult cow or horse and proportionately less for smaller animals .Death is usually very rapid and few treated animals recover.
With Grass Tetany, I would suggest animals that have had constant access to a product like Nutri Lifta or Economin blocks would have little to worry about as these products give good levels of Magnesium. Grass tetany blocks usually contain 30% magnesium but, people wait until the stock start dying before putting the blocks out. TOO LATE, stock need about three weeks of consumption BEFORE the problem arises.If, you’re going to use a grass tetany block I suggest you use a molasses based block for maximum Mg ingestion. You could also spray the pasture or hay with a Causmag solution. Treatment is by way of Magnesium injection subcutaneously.
There appears at times to be some confusion between grain poisoning, (lactic acidosis) and lambing sickness.
Worms are best controlled by drenching with a product specified for the type of worms encountered. Speak to your Delta Ag rep for advice on this.
Pulpy Kidney, prevention is the only way to go. Regardless of the animal’s vaccination status, I would be giving a multiple clostridial disease vaccination booster ASAP.
I suppose, all this boils down to;
- Inject all stock with say, a 5 in 1 vaccine booster dose.
- Drench with the appropriate anthelmintic
- Inject or drench all stock with a Vitamin ADE dose according to body weight.
- Keep stock accessing Nutri-Lifta especially before and after joining and before and after calving/lambing.
- At other times allow access to Econo Min blocks.
- In lot feeding situations, your existing program should just continue.
- Be vigilant and aware of possible problems.
- Contact your D.V.O. for herd or flock health problems