Herd your cattle towards healthy gestation

During the cooler seasons, cereal crops and green pastures typically experience a decline in uptake of minerals from the soil.

The high moisture content and low dry matter of lush pasture allows feed to pass through the rumen faster, which decreases the animals ability to absorb important nutrients. Availability of essential nutrients declines significantly, particularly calcium, magnesium and protein, which are essential during gestation periods and in the lead up to calving. That’s why it is important to supplement your ruminant’s diet to ensure they and their calves are receiving all of the essential nutrients required to produce healthier offspring.

Pregnant cow in a field

Why are supplements vital for cattle during gestation?

Ensuring that your cattle have the right nutrients will help to prevent reproductive issues. Riverina Australia offers a number of products specifically designed to supplement essential nutrients required during winter. Nutrients, including calcium, magnesium and protein, are in high demand during gestation and calving, making this time of year the perfect time to start introducing supplements. Using these products prior to the joining period can also assist with fertility and reproduction. The continued use of these products throughout the gestation period keeps nutrition at optimal levels.

The Importance of Magnesium Supplementation

Magnesium absorption is reduced when feeding lush green pastures and forage during winter due to fast bypass through the rumen. To provide important limited minerals and vitamins during this period, we recommend Riverina’s Pasturepro© Magnesium Mix. Suitable for sheep and cattle, Pasturepro Magnesium Mix is a Cottonseed Meal mixture, which also reduces instances of Grass Tetany – a condition caused by low magnesium levels in the blood. Lactating stock and those grazing winter pastures and crops are more susceptible to grass tetany and require more nutritional management.

Replacing Essential Nutrients with Supplementation

Molasses-based supplements also provide a good basis of nutrients to cattle. Riverina’s Backgrounder Select® is a dual-purpose molasses-based liquid pasture supplement designed for ad lib feeding on freestanding pasture or cultivated crops. Free flowing and less viscous than molasses, Riverina’s Backgrounder Select provides a constant supply of nutrients while the added zinc assists with lean tissue growth and hoof & tissue repair.

Another molasses-based supplement solution is Riverina’s Truegraz® Gold – a free-flowing liquid feed that supplies essential nutrients required for maintenance and conditioning of grazing cattle. Truegraz Gold contains sugars commonly found in molasses, which help improve the utilisation of urea.

While pastures may look lush this time of year and are high in protein, they lack many key nutrients that are essential during gestation. These nutrients can be provided using molasses-based products and other supplements. Ensure that you prevent Grass Tetany and other nutrient deficiencies during gestation by maintaining quality ruminant nutrition.

It’s also important to note that vaccinations are crucial at this time of the year to protect livestock from clostridial diseases. Remember to keep up-to-date with your 5-in-1 and 7-in-1 vaccinations and consult your veterinarian for further information.

For more information on our products contact our expert ruminant team through your local Riverina branch.

Glen Whitton is a ruminant specialist and has been a Territory Sales Manager at Riverina Stockfeeds Australia for 18 years.