A series of three trials were established with 188 lactating dairy cows which were supplemented daily with either 0, 10 or 20 g Magnesium (Mg) during 18 weeks from January to May. Cows in each trial were allocated to treatments randomly in a cross-over design with each treatment lasting 2 weeks. This design was replicated three times during the 18 weeks. There was no treatment effect on serum Mg or milksolids (MS) production, (0.82, 0.82 & 0.83 mmol/l or 0.78, 0.79 & 0.77 kg MS/cow/day for 0, 10 & 20 g Mg, respectively; averaged across all trials) and there were no farmlet-by-treatment interactions. Based on visual assessments of pasture intakes and pasture mineral analysis, mean pasture Mg intakes during all three trials ranged from 23 to 35g Mg/cow/day (SEM 1.14). Urine Mg-creatinine ratio of 50 cows during Trial 3 indicated that the urinary Mg concentration increased linearly with increasing dietary Mg (1.38, 1.87, 2.01 for the 0, 10 and 20 g treatments, respectively; SED 0.175). Trial three results suggest that Mg surplus to requirement was being voided by the cow and that it is unlikely that even at the higher stocking rates, a milk production response to Mg supplementation will occur in the summer/early-autumn period when Mg in diet is >0.18%.

KA, MacDonald, JW Penno, GA Verkerk, J Jago, and BW Dow

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 61, Christchurch, 148-151, 2001
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