Metabolic risk of new grass

27 June 1997

Metabolic risk of new grass

FAST growing grass could be causing metabolic disorders in dairy cattle and lowering milk proteins.

Grass is too wet for the cow to be absorbing enough calcium and magnesium, and milk fever cases are even occurring in cows six months into their lactation, explains independent consultant Tony Andrews.

"Wet grass, passes through the digestive tract quickly and absorption of vitamins, minerals, protein and energy is lower.

"This can lead to milk fever – due to calcium and magnesium deficiencies – and loss of condition which effects milk protein levels," explains Dr Andrews.

He suggests the answer is to slow the passage of food through the gut by offering long fibre in the form of straw.

"When the cow is at grass she may not be interested in eating straw. But it is vital that she does so and it may be necessary to yard cows for an hour after milking to ensure they take the straw," he says. &#42

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