Farm Store | articles | Preventing Grass Tetany In Cattle

Preventing Grass Tetany In Cattle

Cattle feeding on grass in a fieldAs the days start to get longer and spring nears, it’s time to start guarding your herd against grass tetany.  Most frequently occurring in the spring, grass tetany incidents often follow a cool period (45-60°F) when grass is growing rapidly.  Early grass growth may be high in potassium and low in magnesium.  This excess potassium can interfere with magnesium absorption in cattle resulting in tetany.

Signs of Tetany

Unfortunately sometimes the first sign of a problem with grass tetany is finding dead cows in your pasture. Symptoms of tetany include cows staggering, excitability, involuntary muscle contractions, convulsions, frothing at the mouth, and vocalization.  Tetany can strike quickly, leaving the animal dead within hours of the onset of symptoms, making detection and treatment that much more difficult. In the battle against grass tetany it’s best to try to prevent it rather than treat it.

Preventing Grass Tetany

Luckily grass tetany can be highly preventable if you follow the tips below:

Provide Magnesium Supplementation

To avoid potential magnesium deficit issues we suggest feeding Mag-O-Min® or other high magnesium mineral products prior to and during tetany season. "Palatability of the mineral is crucial," explains Harry Walker, Southern States® Feeds Sales and Technical Representative. "Cattle do not like the taste of magnesium and will not consume a high magnesium mineral that is not palatable." High magnesium minerals should be available to your herd 24/7 during tetany season.

Proper Location & Number of Mineral Feeders

It is very important to have an adequate number of mineral feeders in each pasture. Walker says, "A general rule of thumb is one mineral feeder for every 25-30 cows." Not only is number of feeders critical, so is their location. If the mineral feeder is located too close to the pasture water source, cattle may over consume the mineral. Likewise if the feeder is located too far away from water, the cattle may not consume enough. Ensure your feeder is properly stocked at all times during tetany season. An empty mineral feeder, even if just for a few days, is asking for a tetany problem.

Keep Offering Hay

Just because the grass is growing doesn't mean you should rely solely on pasture as a food source. Continue to offer hay so the cattle have another food source other than new growth in the pasture. Keep hay available until they completely stop consuming it.

Add Variety to your Pasture

Variety is the spice of life. Did you know the risk of grass tetany decreases on pastures that contain over 30% legumes? At next seeding think about incorporating clovers and alfalfas into your pasture mix.

Avoid High Risk Pastures

If at all possible, avoid letting your herd graze on pastures known to be at high risk for grass tetany.

Avoid Fertilizing with Nitrogen in the spring

Nitrogen fertilization contributes to rapid plant growth which in turn can lead to low magnesium in the plants.

Prevention is Key

As Benjamin Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." This definitely rings true when it comes to grass tetany, as it is easier to prevent tetany than treat it. By keeping vigilant to pasture changes you can be one step ahead of grass tetany.

Visit your local Southern States location for all your cattle care needs.

Shop Pasture Grass

Related Products

More Products Like This:
Grid View
List View
  • Tomorrow Mastitis Treatment 10 cc

    SKU 11422085
    Tomorrow Mastitis Treatment offers broad-spectrum control against the harmful organisms that cause mastitis in dry cows. Extensive clinical studies have shown Tomorrow to be efficacious in the treatment of mastitis in dry cows, when caused by Streptococcus agalactiae and Staphylococcus aureus, including penicillin-resistant strains.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Today Mastitis Treatment 10 cc

    SKU 11422090
    Today treats gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in lactating dairy cows. Using a convenient, single-day treatment, Today saves producers time and money when solving problems related to mastitis.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Re-Sorb Electrolyte Powder Packet 64 gm

    SKU 11422247
    Re-Sorb Electrolyte Supplement For Scouring Calves is a highly palatable oral electrolyte soluble powder for the prompt rehydration of scouring calves. Nutrients and electrolytes are packaged separately for stability, in convenient pre-measured, single dose packets. Simply mix with warm water and administer with nipple or oral feeder bag.
    to see pricing & availability
  • AgriLabs Vitamins & Electrolytes Plus 4 oz

    SKU 11402579
    During periods of stress or reduced feed intake, AgriLabs Vitamins & Electrolytes Plus is a water soluble mixture of vitamins and electrolytes perfect for cattle, swine, horses, poultry and sheep. Simply dissolve one package in 128 gallons of drinking water.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Liquamycin LA-200 100 ml

    SKU 11421981
    LA-200 100mL is a ready to use solution that is an antimicrobial agent effective in the treatment of a wide range of diseases caused by susceptible gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Comes as a concentrated injectable antibiotic which contains 200 mg/cc of oxytetracycline. Provides sustained blood levels for 3 to 4 days following a single dose.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Sav-A-Caf Electrolytes Plus 6 oz

    SKU 11420337
    Sav-A-Caf Electrolytes Plus replenishes nutrients and fluids during times of stress and illness. For use in pre-weaned veal and herd replacement calves, foals, lambs, goat kids, baby pigs, llama and alpaca crias, fawns and elk calves. Also for use in adult horses, llamas, alpacas, goats, and sheep.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Merial Corid 9.6% Solution 16 oz

    SKU 11401323
    Corid 9.6% Solution aids in the treatment and prevention of coccidiosis caused by Eimeria bovis and E. zurnii in calves. Comes in a 16 oz bottle for easy application and can be used as either a drench or added to drinking water.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Sav-A-Caf Colostrum Supplement 16 oz

    SKU 11401864
    Sav-A-Caf Colostrum Supplement provides a supplemental source of nutrients to dairy and beef replacement calves less than four days old that do not receive enough maternal colostrum. Sav-A-Caf Colostrum Supplement is readily absorbed and contains 55 grams Bovine globulin protein and 26 essential nutrients and vitamins for your growing calf.
    to see pricing & availability

Find Your Nearest Southern States Location

Sales & Offers