Feed Grade Calcium

Feed Grade Calcium

McGraths Nutritionist Nina Larkin explains:

Why is calcium necessary for livestock?
Calcium is one of the main minerals needed by animals to grow, develop and produce. Its main function in the animal is for bone and teeth formation, smooth muscle contraction, e.g. the rumen, and for blood clotting. A deficiency or imbalance in calcium can cause poor growth rates, poor bone development, reduced milk output, displaced abomasums and more obviously milk fever. A lesser known fact is that it can also cause urinary calculi in male animals, (intact or castrated!)

Why do we actually need to add it to rations?
We need to add calcium to rations due to the increased diversity of what we’re feeding our livestock. The only forage you can feed with good levels of calcium in it is Lucerne or Clover Hay/Silage. Although Lucerne is being grown by some farmers down south, it’s not common here in Ireland. Obviously the most commonly fed forage is Grass Silage and unfortunately it generally doesn’t have adequate levels of calcium. The other point to consider is that more Whole crop is being grown and fed here in the west now and its calcium levels are even lower than Grass Silage, the same can be said for Maize Silage. Grain is also growing in popularity, which not only has low calcium, but also high phosphorus, which means the need for calcium is even more important to keep a balanced diet

Who should be supplementing with Calcium?
All farmers should make sure they’re feeding some form of calcium supplementation. It can be fed through a diet feeder or more simply thrown on the silage in front of the stock. It’s not particularly hard to do and yet still many farmers don’t feed any at all. It’s of vital importance, especially in a bad year, where silage quality may be poor and more meal is being fed. The other concern is, due to the economic situation many farmers are facing, minerals are quite often seen as just another added cost, but Calcium is the cheapest mineral you can feed your stock.

What rate should it be fed at?
Dosage depends on the animal type/age/weight and purpose. For adult beef cattle receiving NO OTHER MINERALS it would be between 2 – 4 ounces and the same for Dairy cattle, depending on stage of lactation. And sheep would be about 10 % of cattle rate. And obviously do not feed Calcium to animals pre-lambing or pre-calving unless under advice from your veterinarian or nutritionist.

Calcium content as Ca: 38% declared (39.4% average)

For more information on this product please contact our office on 094-9553900 or email us at info@mcgrathsquarries.ie.