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Overcome prussic acid and sulphur deficiency for stock grazing forage sorghum 

Written by Ben Munzberg

May 22, 2023

Sulphur is a fundamental element for robust and profitable beef production. It serves important roles in protein synthesis, cellular function, and supports beneficial rumen bacteria. It’s also a valuable detoxifier for cattle grazing forage crops, especially sorghum.

However, the challenge of delivering the correct sulphur dose to each animal can often result in unsuccessful supplementation attempts and unnecessary expenses. In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of sulphur for cattle grazing sorghum and offer a strategy for efficiently achieving the target dose for each animal.

Prussic acid detoxification

Sorghum contains a toxin called prussic acid. Livestock normally neutralise this toxin using sulphur, but forage sorghum is often sulphur-deficient, causing animals to tap into their own reserves. This can lead to sulphur depletion and prussic acid poisoning. Therefore, sulphur supplementation becomes vital to facilitate prussic acid removal, effectively mitigating the risk of poisoning in livestock.

Getting the balance right

Balancing sulphur in cattle diets can be challenging. Both excessive and insufficient sulphur intake can have negative consequences. Overconsumption may lead to reduced feed intake, weight gain, respiratory dysfunction, or even death. Inadequate sulphur intake can result in deficiencies that affect animal health and productivity.

Farmers typically use a combination of dry lick blocks, loose lick feeds, and soil-based sulphur sources to balance cattle’s sulphur consumption. These methods, however, have their limitations. Dry lick blocks and loose lick feeds may appear cost-effective, but their consumption can be inconsistent across entire herds and become ineffective due to weather conditions. Soil-based sulphur, though effective, can be expensive to maintain and supply in the necessary amounts.

Delivering the target dose to every animal

So how can you efficiently and cost-effectively get the target dose of sulphur to every animal in the herd, every day? Precision supplementation is the challenge that DIT AgTech set out to solve for Australian livestock producers, initially in rangelands. We developed the uDOSE supplement delivery system to precision-dose supplements into livestock drinking water, via a property’s existing water infrastructure.

With uDOSE, farmers can choose a target dose rate, control dose rates remotely, and see consumption data in real time. Tried and tested on Australia’s largest cattle stations, uDOSE is Australia’s leading water supplementation system that ensures consistent supplement intake across the mob. The system has safety features to prevent overdosing, making it a reliable and practical option.

uPRO FORAGE high-sulphur formula 

uPRO FORAGE is a supplement formulation that targets sulphur. Specially designed to improve the health and production potential of livestock grazing forage sorghum. It combines sulphur, crude protein, magnesium, and salts, offering your stock a perfect mix of vital nutrients and minerals.

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Australia’s leading producers are feeling the positive ripple effects of the DIT AgTech Livestock Water Supplementation and Productivity Platform. Book a consultation to learn how it could work for you.

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