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).
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Animal Production Science|
|Early online date||2014|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2015|