Ag Lime Palatability

Cattle problems.
Vetrock
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Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Vetrock » Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:37 pm

I have a high phosphorus problem with my hay. Last year I had several cattle go down due the improper Ca:P ratio. Several died. Some went down even after we provided the correct free choice mineral to fix the problem. So our guess was that some cows didn’t eat the mineral.

My solution was to add the calcium to the food I’m supplementing in order to better assure I don’t have this issue again. I’m told by the guy who mixes my feed that one option is to add Ag Lime. It’s 40% Calcium. So I put the math to it based on my hay and their feed analysis. I’d have to add in 125lbs of Ag Lime / ton of feed to get the right amount of Ca to offset my high P.

Questions: Will it be palatable? Is there a better option for a Calcium source that won’t break the bank? I’m sure this post brings up more questions than that, but I’m trying to be succinct.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby turklilley » Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:56 pm

I used to mix it with my feed, but I only used 25 lbs per ton. Cows eat it the same either with or without the lime.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby sim.-ang.king » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:53 pm

Alfafa and some over lagumes have quite a bit of calcium in them, with a little figuring you might be able to thin down the lime.
Other wise though they should eat it, might add in molasses to increase palatably.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Stocker Steve » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:42 am

Tell us about your hay.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Vetrock » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:20 am

It’s a Bahia / Bermuda mix that has had chicken litter as fertilizer since the 80s.good quality. Avg TDN. CP 8.4%. Has .36 Ca and P in it.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Dave » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:55 pm

I have never heard of grass luxury consuming P and thus throwing the P to Ca balance off. The other thing is that the majority of the P utilized by grass is in root growth. On the other hand if there is excess K in the soil the grass will luxury consume it and not take up the Ca causing things to go out of balance. K and Ca are both cations. I have seen this to the point where they were losing cows. I would do a soil test to see just where your balance or lack there of is at.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Stocker Steve » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:24 am

Dave wrote:On the other hand if there is excess K in the soil the grass will luxury consume it and not take up the Ca causing things to go out of balance. K and Ca are both cations. I have seen this to the point where they were losing cows. I would do a soil test to see just where your balance or lack there of is at.


What do you consider out of balance?
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Dave » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:59 am

Stocker Steve wrote:
Dave wrote:On the other hand if there is excess K in the soil the grass will luxury consume it and not take up the Ca causing things to go out of balance. K and Ca are both cations. I have seen this to the point where they were losing cows. I would do a soil test to see just where your balance or lack there of is at.


What do you consider out of balance?


Trying to remember what the numbers were. It has been about 15 years since I dealt with this. I am pretty sure that the soil K was over 2,000 ppm. On a dairy I worked with the late father had fertilized with 10-20-20 and for years during the winter the close field had got all the manure during the winter. They had also imported alfalfa to the farm which is generally high in K. That combination put the K in the soil through the roof. Good old K stays put until the plants take it up. K, Ca, and Mg are all cations. The plant can't tell them apart from each other so if one is present in abundance and there is a shortage of another the plant will luxury consume the abundant one. If it is too much K the resulting shortage of Ca or Mg can cause milk fever or grass tetany or other issues. I don't remember the K number in the feed I do remember the university experts saying one little notch higher and cows would start dropping like flies.
I remember another case where a dairy bought 5 cows from out of the area. Paid through the nose for those cows. Brought them home and put them on their home grown feed which was very high on K. They lost all 5 of those cows. That was the first case of extreme high K that I worked on. Got to be over 20 years ago so I don't remember any other details.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Stocker Steve » Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:27 am

I have some paddocks that are now 250 to 400 ppm for K from bale grazing, with most on the lower end. They were mostly 70 to 100 ppm when I bought the place. My seed guy said you can not get it "too high" - - but I notice large hollow stems in the high K paddocks, and I notice grass has a harder time competing with legumes. My custom guy is puzzled why his straw chopper does not work better?

P levels did not rise as fast. They are running 25 to 100 ppm, with most on the lower end. They were mostly 9 to 18 ppm when I bought the place. Some here have started using (previously the tree huggers burned it against a "renewable" energy quota) a lot of high P turkey litter on corn ground. Seems to be working well so far, but I do not see how this can continue for a long time.

Rumor has it that grass grows well in 100+ ppm P but I have not gone there. I assume dairies can get away with a lot if they blend in a TMR?

If I had very high P beef fodder, I would consider selling some and then buying back, to blend and to get some P off the place. The hay I bought this year tested 0.18% P.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Dave » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:23 am

The K should be at least in the 150-250 ppm range. It does take a lot to get to be too high. Up around the 2,000 ppm is where the problems occur. The soil P should be around 25 ppm. I have seen a lot of good grass growing on a 100 ppm of P soil. The environmentalist want P to be below 30 ppm. They claim P will leach out of the soil. The reality is that it doesn't so much leach. It will most often attach itself to clay particles. If there is erosion those soil particles with the P attached leave carrying the P with it. The result is a sod field can hold a lot more P than a regularly plowed and farmed field.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Stocker Steve » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:33 am

Dave wrote:The soil P should be around 25 ppm. I have seen a lot of good grass growing on a 100 ppm of P soil. The environmentalist want P to be below 30 ppm. They claim P will leach out of the soil. The reality is that it doesn't so much leach. It will most often attach itself to clay particles. If there is erosion those soil particles with the P attached leave carrying the P with it. The result is a sod field can hold a lot more P than a regularly plowed and farmed field.


Where do you start seeing problems with high P in a pasture or hay sod?
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby Dave » Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:04 pm

I never saw High P creating a problem for the grass or critters. I tested fields as high as 250 ppm. Those people were having problems with the Dept of Ecology, but not with the grass or cows.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby ddd75 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:32 pm

they want P at around 50ppm here. I am very deficient from corn. I pour it on. I am at a soil level of 5 and now have increased it to 8 with a lot of $$ in fertilizer.
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Re: Ag Lime Palatability

Postby TexasBred » Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:29 pm

Vetrock wrote:I have a high phosphorus problem with my hay. Last year I had several cattle go down due the improper Ca:P ratio. Several died. Some went down even after we provided the correct free choice mineral to fix the problem. So our guess was that some cows didn’t eat the mineral.

My solution was to add the calcium to the food I’m supplementing in order to better assure I don’t have this issue again. I’m told by the guy who mixes my feed that one option is to add Ag Lime. It’s 40% Calcium. So I put the math to it based on my hay and their feed analysis. I’d have to add in 125lbs of Ag Lime / ton of feed to get the right amount of Ca to offset my high P.

Questions: Will it be palatable? Is there a better option for a Calcium source that won’t break the bank? I’m sure this post brings up more questions than that, but I’m trying to be succinct.

You cattle will never know it's in the mix. It's basically tasteless. It's the same lime the feed company already uses, it's just ground much much finer than "Ag Lime".
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