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Sandhills Cattle Radio - May 7, 2020


This is Liz Kierl with the Sandhills cattle association and this is your weekly Sandhills Cattle News.

The grass is greening up here in the Sandhills, and the cows are getting antsy to get out and graze! However, cool season grasses (the ones that are currently the beautiful green and lush grasses) can lead to grass tetany!

According to a recent release put out by the UNL Beef Team authored by Karla Jenkins and Mary Drewnoski, grass tetany occurs when Magnesium levels are low in the beef animal. Magnesium is a mineral that is not stored in the animal’s body to be used when it is needed. Instead it is absorbed through the rumen wall which means the animal’s magnesium levels are entirely dependent on how much magnesium it is currently consuming. In addition to their inability to store magnesium, other minerals can affect their absorption! Potassium and Nitrogen, which lush green grasses are high in, affect the animal’s ability to utilize magnesium. As well as cool, cloudy days with wet spring!

Lactating cows obviously require more magnesium than dry or yearling cattle. While grass tetany can affect growing cattle, it generally affects older, lactating cows. According to the release, symptoms include staggering, convulsions, excitability, twitching and can result in death.

So, how do we prevent this? Providing ‘High Mag’ minerals to cows about a month before turnout can help prevent the issue! Continue to keep High Mag out until these cool season grasses mature. But then, how do we make sure that the cows are eating the mineral? According to the article, salt is the main driver for free choice mineral consumption. So, instead of putting out salt blocks or separate salt stations, they recommend to add loose salt to your mineral. Keep in the back of your mind though, salt will dilute the mixture, so overall intake should be greater than the initial target intake. You can also add Magnesium oxide to your mineral; however, it is bitter and may reduce intake. You can help increase palatability by adding one pound of dried distillers or soybean meal. Bottom line, it is important to talk with your local veterinarian, nutritionist, and feed supplier about your operation and how you can prevent grass tetany in your herd!

For more about grass tetany and how to prevent it -visit Beef.Unl.Edu, or jump out to our website at for links to the article.


With today’s current situation, we end up with quite a few inquiries on where to get fresh beef from a producer. Now is your time to shine folks! You have a commodity that people are actively seeking! I understand that most local lockers are booked out several months. Do not let that be the obstacle that stops you! Call your local locker, book a spot. Then make direct contact with consumers and let them know that you will have something available several months from now! Some will need time to save the money, others need to find freezer space; so really, they are looking at a couple months before they are ready for the beef anyways! And, because this is and should be a business model - take a small deposit. This lets both parties know that you are both serious and that this is a real, valid transaction!


Don’t forget the Sandhills Cattle Association has several advertising opportunities for ranches and businesses to get their message out to the right folks! Our newsletter currently hits 800 mailboxes in addition to sale barns and feedlots. Get your products – whether they are cattle or livestock supplies Infront of the people that use them every day!

Speaking of cattle, if you have any you would like listed in the upcoming Feeder Cattle News, you should call today to get them on this list! It will be going out next week along with the Sandhills Cattle News! Our List Subscriptions service will be headed to the mailboxes next week as well, so get your available jobs, feed and pasture and classified ads in soon! These lists are always available to members on our website under List Services!

Oh, and don’t forget to send your photos in to be put on the front cover of the Sandhills Cattle News! This issue will be the first colored cover since the 70s, so let’s see those calving, branding or otherwise amazing photos you have!

This is Liz Kierl with the Sandhills Cattle Association and this has been your weekly Sandhills Cattle News!


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