24 May 1996

Protein poisoning?

COWS could suffer protein poisoning oveer the next few weeks where cold nights have continued and grass growth is slow.

Tim Fawcett, of Preston-based compounder AF, cites grass crude protein readings at 20-30% against normal levels of 14-15%.

"At this high level it is concerning, for cows must get rid of this as urea in dung and urine," he says. Cows may scour more than usual and show nervous symptoms similar to those caused by staggers.

He warns that high proteins in grass can also lead to high blood urea and, in the longer term, could reduce fertility.

"Extra protein must be mopped up," he says. "This may be achieved by restricting grass."

but this is uneconomic. For best results supplement with high fermentable energy such as molasses or cereals."