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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Magnesium in Grasses of Three Selected Regions in the United States and its Relation to Grass Tetany1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 6, p. 907-914
    Received: Dec 10, 1979

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  1. Joe Kubota,
  2. G. H. Oberly and
  3. E. A. Naphan2



Grass tetany, a conditioned Mg deficiency, is a serious nutritional disease in cattle in various parts of the United States. While year to year variability is high, disease incidence is notably higher in some areas than others, indicating that soils, species of grasses, and temperature may be contributing factors. The Mg concentrations in grasses were determined to identify regional patterns and factors that affect them. Attention was focused on three distinctly different regions: 1) western U.S. from southern Nevada to Oregon, 2) eastern U.S. from North Carolina to Maine, and 3) central U.S. including the Lake states. In the West, the Mg concentration was low in grasses grown on droughty soils formed in volcanic ash. In the eastern U.S., the Mg concentration in grasses decreased from North Carolina to Maine, indicating the dominance of temperature over soils. In the North Central Region, the dominance of dolomitic till (Wisconsin) over calcitic till (Michigan) as sources of soil parent material was evident in the production of Mg adequate grasses for livestock. Regional patterns of tetany incidence seemed more closely associated with grasses having less than 0.2% Mg than with grasses having K/(Ca+Mg) ratios of 2.2 or more.

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