Although the beginning of summer and expected good rains offer grazing producers some relief, it also presents new challenges. As dry winter grazing transforms into green summer grazing, its composition and nutritional values tend to change.

Although green grazing is relatively high in protein, highly digestible and conducive to weight gain, it is vital to note that it also has regionally bound, mineral-specific deficiencies, of which phosphorus (P) is the most significant in South Africa.

Supplementation on local grazing

Research conducted in 1940 indicated that grasslands in South Africa were phosphorus deficient. Given the season, however, it can also lack crude protein, energy and some minerals and trace minerals. Research conducted in 1986 further indicated that cows on green grazing that were supplemented with a balanced P-mineral lick, showed improved birth and weaning weights.

  • Calcium (Ca) and P are the most important macro-minerals, especially with regard to bone structure. Furthermore, Ca is important for the prevention of hypocalcaemia in dairy cows after calving.
  • P is provided based on production status and promotes the development of young animals, with subsequent improved condition, fertility, growth, milk production and weaning weight.
  • Manganese (Mn) supports reproduction and growth in young animals.
  • Copper (Cu) contributes to preventing suppressed oestrus and prenatal mortality. Cu also supports reproduction. Copper levels must, however, be strictly managed as it can be toxic to small stock.
  • Cobalt (Co) is a core element of vitamin B12 and is synthesised by the rumen micro-organisms. It is important for several metabolic processes.
  • Zinc (Zn) is important for spermatogenesis, high sperm production and libido.
  • Selenium (Se) helps prevent premature births, poor vitality, muscular dystrophy, poor immunity and low fertility.

In addition to these shortages in summer grazing, it is essential to make optimal use of the higher nutritional value of green grazing. Where animals are finished on green grazing, a high-quality, ready-mixed supplemental lick may be considered.

A uniquely formulated product range

Nutri Feeds offers a complete range of products, as well as a concentrate for the self-mixing of quality mineral and trace mineral supplements, to alleviate these deficiencies in summer grazing.

Nutri Lick Energy 18 (V 17402) is a traditional meal-type lick for ruminants, formulated to complement grazing and to support minimal replacement. This ready-mixed product can be used to grow out young animals or to increase the weight of older animals on green or cultivated grazing. It can also be used as a production lick for sheep on poor quality grazing.

Nutri Tub Energy (V 17396) is a convenient alternative to traditional meal-type licks. It is a protein, mineral and energy supplement for ruminants on grazing and is suitable for production purposes. Due to its unique ‘toffee’ concept, the product is literally licked to ensure controlled intake. Because it is molasses based, it is palatable, no losses are incurred due to wind, and its composition is not affected by selective feeding or climatic conditions. It prevents loss of condition in beef cattle cows with calves or ewes with lambs on winter veld, and good weight gain is obtained in tollies on green summer grazing.

Phosphate licks on summer grazing

Nutri Feeds offers various phosphate lick options for use on green grazing.

6451 Nutri Lek Fos 6 (V 8874) is a traditional meal-type lick for ruminants on green grazing. This ready-mixed product provides 120g/kg Ca and 60g/kg P, as well as the necessary trace minerals to promote production, growth, development and reproduction.

Nutri Lek Fos 12 (V 5008) is available for self-mixing purposes and is mixed with one 50kg bag of salt.

6601 Nutri Tub Phosphate (V 14996) is a convenient alternative to traditional meal-type licks which, due to its ‘toffee’ concept, ensures controlled intake. It is molasses based and therefore palatable, shows no losses due to wind, and is not affected by selective feeding or climate conditions. It provides 60g/kg P, 120g/kg Ca and essential trace minerals to improve production and reproduction on deficient green grazing. – By Evan Macdonald, technical manager: ruminants, Nutri Feeds

Nutri Feeds’ products are available in a lick or tub format. Contact your nearest Nutri Feeds representative or visit www.nutrifeeds.co.za to learn more.

For more information or a list of references, contact Evan Macdonald on
018 011 8888, 071 136 4995 or emacdonald@countrybird.co.za.