Magnesium is an essential macro-mineral for the growth and development of all living organisms. In animals, 65% of the total Magnesium is located in the skeleton, bound to calcium and phosphorus, and necessary for bone growth and stability. The remaining Magnesium is found on its ionized form Mg2+, mainly inside the cells. Thus, it participates in the maintenance of cellular physico-chemical constants, and is cofactor of more than 300 enzymes involved in the energetic and antioxidant metabolisms. It is also necessary for the transmission of the nerve flow and muscular contraction (Suttle, 2010).
In livestock production, in the different sectors, Magnesium is an essential mineral that must be provided to cover the needs of each species. Particularly in ruminants, supplementation with mineral magnesium is essential because the average magnesium levels in forages are at the limit of recommendation (NRC, 2001). In addition, the digestibility of this organic magnesium is very variable and depends on many factors such as the soil and subsoil nature, the climate, the stage and the mode of forage harvesting. The rumen physico-chemical conditions could also change magnesium absorption efficiency. This is improved by an high energetic diet but decreased by an increase in the potassium concentration of the ration (ration containing more than 15g of potassium per kg of dry matter).
In dairy cow, the minimum recommended intake of Magnesium is 0.2% of the dry matter of the ration to cover daily needs (NRC, 2001). Magnesium deficiency phenomena can occur in case of insufficient intake in relation to the needs, or interactions with other elements present in the diet. These interactions can occur with organic acids, long-chain fatty acids, sulphates, and minerals (calcium, sodium, potassium, manganese, and aluminium).
In farming, in the spring, when ruminants turning out on grass, grass tetany or hypomagnesemia (Magnesium deficiency) may occur depending on the chemical composition of the young grass, rich in potassium and proteins, and poor in crude cellulose. It is caused by the sudden drop of Magnesium level in the blood. This metabolic disease is characterized by neuromuscular hyperexcitability, behaviour disorders and seizures.
The main form of Magnesium used by feed manufacturers is Magnesium oxide (MgO). It is obtained by a calcination process of Magnesium carbonate and its Magnesium content is relatively high, between 50 and 56% depending on the Magnesium oxide source used. In addition, the particle size of the selected Magnesium oxide can also influence the Magnesium bioavailability for the dairy cow and thus the Magnesium intake of the ration.
Magnesium oxide is used into the dairy cows diet to maintain a correct blood Magnesium level and to ensure an optimal ruminal pH (between 6.2 and 6.5) and allowing the correct functioning of the ruminal digestion mechanisms (Goff, 2014).
Specific Magnesium supplementation in diet before and during the risk periods of herbage tetany in dairy cows may compensate the Magnesium digestibility decrease of forages and prevent this risk (Meschy et al., 2010).
It can also be used to control ruminal acidosis, which occurs frequently in dairy cows with high genetic potential at the beginning of lactation and fed with energy-rich diets.
All of these can be adapted to suit your technical constraints and nutritional requirements.
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