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Farm & Ranch

Grass Tetany (Hypomagnesemia)

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By Barry Whitworth, DVM

With spring approaching, producers should be aware of a disease associated with rapidly growing forages. Hypomagnesemia is commonly referred to as grass tetany. The disease is a serious and often fatal metabolic disease that occurs in cattle and less commonly in sheep and goats. The disease is characterized by low blood and cerebral spinal fluid levels of magnesium.
Low level of magnesium in animals is associated with tetanic convulsions. The disease is often associated with grazing lush green pastures during cold rainy weather in early spring. Other names for hypomagnesemia are grass staggers, hypomagnesmic tetany, lactation tetany, or wheat pasture poisoning.

Magnesium is an important mineral because it activates many enzymes in chemical reactions in the body. Without this mineral, cells are unable to produce energy, transport genetic information, transport materials across cell membranes, and nerves cease to respond in a normal manner. Magnesium also plays a role in electrolyte balances in the body.

Maintaining magnesium levels requires adequate daily intake to meet the needs of the animal. Factors that increase magnesium requirements are fetal growth during pregnancy, milk production, soft tissue growth, and bone growth. Failure to absorb magnesium may lower blood levels as well.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February 2024 issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Wyoming

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By Tressa Lawrence

Babies are tucked away in every nook and cranny. Many ranchers across Wyoming have baby animals popping up all over this time of year.

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Montana

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By Lindsey Monk

Another load of grain in to keep feeding the calves until the green grass can really start popping.

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Farm & Ranch

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch….

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By Rayford Pullen | [email protected]

Spring has sprung and hopefully the rains will continue where our country will heal from the previous droughts and our grasses will thrive. We are especially hopeful for the Panhandle of Texas where our neighbors and friends have been dealt a deadly blow to homes, ranges, livestock, and people. Keep them in your prayers as they will not be able to return to normal for many years if at all. Having lost their ability to benefit from this great cattle market is a double whammy for all of them.

Now is the time of year when we need to take care of business as it relates to our new calves that have been hitting the ground this spring. First and foremost is vaccinating for Blackleg followed by deworming with a white wormer and the IBR complex. Blackleg is a soil-born disease and with pastures extremely short this spring our calves have been grazing the green grass as soon as it shows itself, making them even more vulnerable to picking contaminates from the soil.

To read more, pick up a copy of the April issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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