tetany and new growth alfalfa

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Anonymous

I am planning on planting a small plot of alfalfa in our cow yard. I dont want to fence it off, but have read quite a few posts about cows eating new growth grass (under 4" tall) and getting teatany. Is this something I should worry about and avoid her eating the alfalfa until it is over 4" tall (in other words going through the hassle of fencing it off?) or is it just with new growth native grass? Thanks for always being there to answer all my newbie questions.

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OP
A

Anonymous

> I am planning on planting a small
> plot of alfalfa in our cow yard. I
> dont want to fence it off, but
> have read quite a few posts about
> cows eating new growth grass
> (under 4" tall) and getting
> teatany. Is this something I
> should worry about and avoid her
> eating the alfalfa until it is
> over 4" tall (in other words
> going through the hassle of
> fencing it off?) or is it just
> with new growth native grass?
> Thanks for always being there to
> answer all my newbie questions.

Tetany is a problem that normally occurs in cattle eating early growth grasses. These grasses grow so quickly that they dont have a chance to absorb Magnesium and grass tetany is nothing more than a Magnesium deficiency. Tetany does not have to occur on a new planting just on the early spring growth. HOwever on alfalfa pasture bloat is a possible problem. It would be beneficial to fence off the pasture and only allow controlled access to it to avoid bloat.



[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

> I am planning on planting a small
> plot of alfalfa in our cow yard. I
> dont want to fence it off, but
> have read quite a few posts about
> cows eating new growth grass
> (under 4" tall) and getting
> teatany. Is this something I
> should worry about and avoid her
> eating the alfalfa until it is
> over 4" tall (in other words
> going through the hassle of
> fencing it off?) or is it just
> with new growth native grass?
> Thanks for always being there to
> answer all my newbie questions.

I am in SE Kansas and have been grazing alfalfa for several years. I have never had bloat problems. Two rules will keep you out of trouble; never turn cattle in on alfalfa on an empty stomach and use a companion grass (we use orchard grass) as at least 30% of the total forage.
 

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