Ronda Graham manages a herd of quality spring calving Charolais and Limousin cows with the able assistance of part time help on the farm of her late husband, Collum, near Killadeas in Co Fermanagh.
She strives to maximise efficiency levels within the business and during the spring and summer months this means making best use of grazed grass.
“I am very conscious of the fact that freshly calved cows can take staggers shortly after turnout, particularly in fields that had been previously dressed with a fertiliser containing potash,” she said.
“To prevent this from happening I put Crystalyx High Mags blocks out with the cows. They are very palatable and I know they contain a proven source of magnesium. In fact, I keep the blocks out with the stock throughout the grazing season as the loss of a single cow can justify this measure.
“The risk of losing cows to staggers is one that is just too big to take.”
David Morgan, from Crystalyx, was a recent visitor to the Graham farm. He was accompanied by local distributor Warren Kerr, from Warren Kerr Farm Supplies, Ballinamallard.
“Too many breeding cows are lost unnecessarily in Northern Ireland each spring as a result of grass staggers,” David explained.
“And the problem can be so easily avoided. It is recommended that the Crystalyx High Mag blocks are placed with the cows after calving, if indoors, and then made available in the grazing areas directly after turnout.”
He continued: “Spring grass is typically fast growing and lush. However it may also contain high levels of potassium, which reduces magnesium availability. Cattle must include magnesium in their diet in order to reduce the risk of staggers. Magnesium salts are a way of providing a source of magnesium, but they are bitter and not readily taken by stock at grass.
“Crystalyx High-Mag, however, provides a highly palatable form of magnesium that is readily available with every lick that the cow takes.”
Research at Glasgow University School of Veterinary Medicine has confirmed that the high digestibility and availability of the magnesium in Crystalyx Cattle High-Mag ensures the risk of hypomagnesaemia is significantly reduced.
“But that’s only part of the story,” David Morgan stressed.
“The High–Mag blocks are not just stand alone sources of magnesium: they also constitute valuable feed supplements. The blocks act to boost grass intakes, thereby improving cow performance. And this effect can be achieved throughout the grazing season.”
Warren Kerr confirmed that the High–Mag blocks are very popular with both suckler and dairy farmers in the Co Fermanagh area.
“They provide farmers with confidence when it comes to knowing that their cows are getting the magnesium they require,” he said.
“What’s more they represent a very small cost when it comes to ensuring that cows are protected from staggers, which can strike without warning and is usually fatal,” he added.