Green feed problems - Elders Rural Services

Green feed problems

Green feed is usually an excellent source of food for your stock, but it can cause problems. Rob Inglis, Elders Livestock Production Manager, Wagga Wagga explains how, and how to overcome them.

Parasites are not the only problem

It is important to consider internal parasites as one possible cause of poor production. However, worms are not the only cause of these symptoms. If in doubt, use faecal egg counts as a tool to confirm if a drench is required.

All that glitters is not gold (or green)

Despite its graphic appeal, rapidly growing autumn pasture has its nutritional limitations. Generally speaking, pastures in their early vegetative phase contain proportionally high levels of nitrogen and potassium, both of which can lead to a number of metabolic disorders including :

  • scouring
  • grass tetany and or milk fever
  • red gut or bloat
  • photosensitisation
  • lameness
  • blindness.

In addition to these easily observed maladies, rapidly growing green feed is very low in many essential macro and micro minerals. These minerals are either diluted, through the quantity of dry matter or rendered unavailable to the animal due to the antagonistic properties of the aforementioned nitrogen and potassium.

Unfortunately the greatest economic loss is not a product of these observable (clinical) symptoms, but in the less observable or sub-clinical symptoms; to whit – lower growth rates, and poor feed conversion.

A question of balance

More often than not the solution is simply to correct these deficiencies.

A good starting point would be to consult a livestock production advisor and assess where the inadequacies lie before formulating a strategy to correct them.

Ultimately the stock will tell us whether their diet is adequate. Regular weighing or condition scoring breeding stock is highly recommended. An Elders Livestock Production Advisor can guide you in this field.

For more information and specific advice contact a Livestock Production Advisor.

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