Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Mineral supplementation of lambing ewes grazing dual-purpose wheat

S. R. McGrath A E F , M. S. Bhanugopan A E , H. Dove B , E. H. Clayton C E , J. M. Virgona D E and M. A. Friend A E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Charles Sturt University, PO Box 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia.

B CSIRO Plant Industry, GPO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

C NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, Pine Gully Road, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia.

D School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences, Charles Sturt University, PO Box 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia.

E Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: shmcgrath@csu.edu.au

Animal Production Science 55(4) 526-534 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN13179
Submitted: 7 May 2013  Accepted: 30 December 2013   Published: 18 February 2014

Abstract

Lambing ewes were grazed on dual-purpose wheat in two experiments in 2010 and 2011 with or without access to a mineral supplement. The calcium, magnesium and sodium content of wheat forage was below the requirements of ewes during late pregnancy and lactation; however, no clinical cases of hypocalcaemia or hypomagnesaemia were observed in either experiment. Blood serum assays identified eight hypocalcaemic ewes and one hypomagnesaemic ewe in Experiment 1, and one hypocalcaemic ewe in Experiment 2, and the provision of a mineral supplement comprising of magnesium oxide, calcium carbonate and coarse salt had no effect on blood magnesium, total calcium, phosphorus or sodium. Lamb birthweight and survival were not affected by provision of the mineral supplement in either experiment; however, the growth rate to marking (mean 38 ± 10 days of age) of twin-born lambs was higher in Experiment 1 when the supplement was provided to ewes grazing wheat (259 vs 243 g/head.day; P = 0.002).


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