What’s in your grass? #MineralsMatter – January 2020
December/January grass mineral values and the best products to use for out-grazing ewes. Uniblock’s latest grass testing is to help inform farmers’ decisions on supplementing grazing pregnant ewes with trace elements and minerals this winter to protect flock productivity, fertility and health and to ensure the viability of their unborn lambs.
It can be difficult to graze sheep during the winter because of weather challenges therefore it is important to be aware of the mineral and trace element levels in grass to allow accurate supplementation at pasture, advises Dr Amanda Dunn of Uniblock.
Correct supplementation with minerals and vitamins is very beneficial to both the ewe and her unborn lambs, she says.
“It is important to remember that 75% of lamb growth, ewe udder development and colostrum production occurs during the last trimester of pregnancy therefore correct management of the ewe during this time is critical.’’
Poor production and ill thrift are often signs of inadequate mineral and vitamin supply; both these symptoms will impact on profitability and can also lead to poor welfare. The study was carried out on nine individual fresh grass samples collected between early and mid-December, to establish mineral levels.
The results, comparative to samples analysed during October and November, showed potassium levels to be relatively high whilst magnesium levels were low. This situation can be a precursor to grass tetany, warns Dr Dunn.