Despite this mineral’s importance it is very rare that you will need to supplement for it. Since high-quality forages and/or grains can furnish a large portion of the required minerals, producers should select supplements that will meet animal requirements and avoid excesses that reduce profits and lead to unnecessary mineral excretion. After calcium and phosphorus, it is the third most abundant mineral in the human body. This is a problem of the cerebral cortex that occurs suddenly and leads to blindness, abnormal behavior, severe depression, convulsions, and death. Be sure to include sulfur (S) contributed by feed additives used to adjust DCAD. Unless you will be feeding a non-nitrogen protein then putting out a sulfur block probably wouldn’t be necessary. When an animal ingests a sulfur compound, free-range hydrogen ions roaming around the rumen cause a conversion to hydrogen sulfide, which is the toxic agent. The maximal tolerated concentration of sulfur for cattle and sheep depends on the type of diet. According to a paper from the University of Georgia the sulfur requirement is only 0.15% of intake. Dan Gould and Frank Garry. Cruciferous forages, such as turnip, rape, and oilseed meals are also rich in sulfur. This sulfur salt lick or block is especially recommended when feeding urea or other non-protein nitrogen compounds in ruminant diets. Add the sulfur contribution from estimated water intake, Express the sum of sulfur intakes as a % of total DMI. Then add the proportionally adjusted sulfur concentrations for all the components. Now you may be thinking that with the importance that sulfur plays in a living organism that must mean that you will need to supplement with a block but t… But if dairy cattle consume sufficient sulfur, PEM will occur in dairy breeds as well. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. The microorganisms will need the inorganic sulfur to create the right amino acids from the NPN. This is probably due to the formation of copper sulfide and/or the thiomolybdate-copper complex. The cow requires dietary sulfur primarily to provide adequate substrate for maximal ruminal microbial growth. A general recommendation is to feed a nitrogen-to-sulfur ratio of 10:1. Allow cows to stand in dry soil or sand, even if it means piling it on concrete for cows to stand on. r/Ranching: A place for stockmen, grass farmers, and cowboys to gather. © Copyright 2019 by College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences A person may be at risk for contracting ringworm when handling affected animals. Sulfur used for body storage or milk produc- tion increased with increasing sulfur except for the MHA treatment. Daily water intake of dairy cattle is influenced by many factors. The sulfur occurs as sulfate salts. Sulphur plays an important role in the dietary cation-anion balance of dairy cows. Sulfur is an essential nutrient in cattle diets. Routinely use a dry mineral mixture in a walk-through foot box. Therefore high sulfate water can represent a substantial amount of sulfur intake in these animals. Cows fed diets (including sulfur from water) with 0.40% sulfur also have lower absorption of selenium than cows fed diets with 0.20% sulfur. This is needed for body growth and not just in the muscle area. A sulfur deficiency is not very common but an excess of sulfur, known as sulfur toxicity, is a more common occurrence in cattle. Dr. Gould and colleagues have demonstrated that a common cause of PEM is sulfur toxicity. The possibility of sulfur-associated PEM can be assessed by measuring the sulfur content of the water and dietary ingredients and then estimating the total sulfur intake on a dry-matter basis. Copper bioavailability is decreased by high dietary sulfur concentrations. Such performance problems may attributed to another cause (heat stress, copper deficiency) while the potential role high sulfur has played goes unnoticed. Although this article has focused on sulfur intake, other water impurities such as nitrate and nitrite can also affect dairy production. Some Colorado dairies have indeed found production benefits from water purification. We also recognize this problem in range cattle. Analyze all feeds and estimate total feed intake. Like many nutrients, however, it can be consumed at excessive levels that become harmful to the animal. Ringworm in Cattle. Compared to the other minerals typically sulfur does not need to be supplemented. This sum is the %S of feed or forage. It can then be either incorporated into microbial protein or absorbed, converted to sulfate and excreted. This sulfur salt lick or block is intended for beef cattle, dairy cows, goats and sheep. Compared with all other farm animals, lactating dairy cows require the greatest amount of water in proportion to their size. But fiber and protein content is higher in distillers grains than corn grain. This is only so that they animal can properly digest and absorb the protein. The soluble hydrosulfide anion is in the rumen fluid phase and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas accumulates in the rumen gas cap. Flatus that is high in sulfur-containing compounds is more odiferous than farts consisting almost exclusively of nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. Cattle producers can mitigate the winter conditions to some extent with proper planning, facility design and good management practices. High sulfur intake conditions can result in conditions that lead to destruction of thiamin. It can be found in every cell of the body and helps to regulate body functions. Determine the concentration of sulfate (SO4) in the water by laboratory analysis. It has also been shown to interfere with the metabolism of copper, which brings it’s own problems. Colorado State University. Do not use in calves under one (1) month of age or calves being fed an all milk diet. Recommended dietary sulfur concentrations are 0.20% of diet dry matter for most dairy cattle (NRC 2001). In hot weather sulfur intake from water can be elevated due to increases in water consumption. Tucker et al. The minimal and maximal limits for sulfur intake are rather expressed as percent of intake, because the utilization and availability of sulfur are closely related to rumen microbial metabolism, and thus are related to total feed intake. The sulfur intake was con- sistently lower for methionine hydroxy analog (MHA) than for sodium sulfate at the same dietary sulfur because the cows ate less feed. “Roughages more important that you think”, The Insider’s Guide to Cattle Summer Mineral. If a total mixed ration is analyzed, this is the value to be used as %S for feed. Apply to CSU | As dairy rations increasingly include salts to modify the dietary anion/cation balance (DCAD), it is important to account for the amount of sulfate that some of these salts contain. Sulfur is a necessary mineral that is needed in order to maintain life. It has recently come to light that it can cause different types of neurological ailments and can even cause polio in cattle. Use in these classes of calves may cause violative tissue residues to remain beyond the withdrawal time. This assessment requires estimation of total sulfur concentration (TSC) of dry matter consumed from all sources, including the contribution made by water. Now you may be asking “just how much sulfur does my cow need?”. In situations where individual’s animals may consume more of a particular dietary ingredient selectively, dietary total sulfur concentration (TSC) may be elevated. Water consumption by cattle is temperature dependent and increases greatly at high temperatures. Courtesy of Drs. The initial focus of these research efforts was on a brain disease of cattle known as polioencephalomalacia (PEM, polio, brainer cattle). TSC is estimated by adding the % sulfur contributed by the water to the % sulfur contributed by the feed and all additives, all on a DM basis. Website Login The best way to prevent this from occurring is to have the feedstuffs you will be providing tested. There are ones who love them and swear by them, then there are others who feel they are a waste of money. Determine the concentration of sulfur (S) in the total mixed ration or individual diet ingredients.These are usually reported as % S as DM. The sulfur-containing amino acid content of the protein is probably the reason that protein rich forage such as alfalfa can contribute significant amounts of sulfur to the diet. All one need do is consult any of the internet chat groups or visit the local sale barn to hear armchair veterinary advice about the so-called advantages of feeding sulfur salt to livestock. Sulfur blocks help cattle to retain some salt. Sulfur is an essential component of certain amino acids, vitamins, hormones and sulfated polysaccharides. Sulfur. "If you are feeding grain, you're going to see seed in manure, especially if it isn't ground. More commonly, lower sulfur intakes that do not produce clinical disease can substantially decrease animal performance. This will prevent any deficiency in that area. Contact Us | What you want to notice is the overall percentage. There is a very real possibility that you are limiting your cows' productivity by effects of high sulfur. It would provide any help and in most cases the risks outweigh any potential, if any, benefits. Ringworm, an unsightly skin disease, is contagious from animal to animal and can be transmitted between species. When there is an excess of sulfur it can cause different types of problems. Many dairy ration formulations emphasize the use of legume forages and commodity feeds that are typically high in sulfur, and the ability to substantially reduce sulfur intake by feed modifications can be limited. When dietary sulfur is consumed by ruminants it is reduced to sulfide by ruminal microorganisms. by Heather Smith Thomas. Privacy Statement | One of the tasks that it does is it is part of the essential amino acids that make up protein. Many distillers grains samples test between 25 and 35 percent protein. As an example on one dairy, water tested high for sulfate and a reverse osmosis purification system was installed. Disclaimer | When crystallized, it is yellow. Diets for growing and finishing cattle should be formulated to contain 0.15 percent sulfur on a dry matter basis. The samples of hominy feed and corn gluten feed analyzed contained approximately 10 times as much sulfur as earlier values indicate. The saliva that they produce while chewing their cud can help negate the high amount of sulfur that they could be consuming. It can also be found in large concentrations in hair, skin, and hooves. Water purification can be beneficial by removing multiple mineral contaminants. Starch content of distillers grains is lower than corn grain. Equal Opportunity | Professor and General Manager Southeast Colorado Research Center Colorado State University Lamar, Colorado Introduction: Sulfur is an important component of many functions in the body and is an essential nutrient for beef cattle. A recent national survey of water sources for beef cattle found 21% of samples exceeded the levels considered safe for all livestock. While putting sulfur powder has been shown to help in that area there is no, as far as I’m aware, no evidence that the block does that. Too much sulfur can cause problems with fat loss, though. If there is an excessively high amount of sulfur, such as dried distillers grains, then it would probably be in your best interest to not feed it if you already have a high amount of sulfur in your forages and water. This makes the range between requirement and toxicity is very small. When all else fails you should follow the feeding instructions that is provided on the tag of the sulfur block. With moderately high levels of sufur intake PEM may not occur, but animal performance can be affected. While there is some benefit to feeding sulfur one must also be careful. Selecting the correct mineral supplement is important for maintaining healthy animals, and optimal growth and reproduction. Non-reduced forms of sulfur such as sulfate and elemental sulfur are relatively non-toxic, whereas H2S and its various ionic forms are highly toxic substances that interfere with cellular energy metabolism and cause tissue damage. Sulfur Toxicity in Feedlot Cattle1 John J. Wagner, Ph.D. Sulfur is an essential nutrient in cattle diets. Higher amounts (0.29%) are recommended for calves consuming milk or milk replacers. Corn, molasses and sugar beet processing byproducts can be high in sulfur because sulfur-containing acidifying agents may be used in the process. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. It will not provide the other nutrients needed because it is just salt and sulfur. Various combinations of these forages commonly explain some of the range cattle problems we have seen. Because of U.S. FDA regulations, the concentration of supplemental selenium in diets cannot be increased above 0.3 ppm, even when sulfur can interfere with selenium absorption. Grasses tend to be low in sulfur, although under some circumstances grasses can accumulate high concentrations of sulfate. Some researchers have suggested a lower maximum tolerable sulfur concentration of 0.26% for lactating dairy cattle. In the fall, wet, cold conditions negate the natural insulation value of the hair coat … Sulfur is used as a feed and mineral supplement to goats and other classes of livestock. All Rights Reserved. Sulfur has been shown to improve the digestion of cellulose such as methionine and cysteine. However, certain research shows that a diet with small amounts of sulfur may be beneficial in other ways as well. Sulfur is a drug so I don't know how much should be feed. This is good for their kidneys, other muscles, and heart. Calcium. One of the most important sources of dietary sulfur in our region is water. Substituting urea and other nonprotein nitrogen compounds for natural proteins in the diet lowers the sulfur content of a ration. Lower levels of ruminal sulfide can also produce adverse effects. The adverse effects of excessive sulfur intake can vary. The maximum tolerable dietary concentration of sulfur is 0.4% of the ration on a dry matter basis. Cattle producers have, over recent years, become well aware that high levels of sulfur molybdenum and other minerals in a cow's diet can affect her ability to absorb copper. The purpose of this article is to draw your attention to this issue and encourage you to evaluate your herd's sulfur feeding. Excess ruminal sulfide can depress ruminal motility Excess dietary sulfur can also result in secondary metabolic effects due to interference with other nutrients. They also say that the maximum tolerable level is .40%. If that isn’t enough just providing the block itself won’t help you out much anyways. Neither one of these are desirable if you are trying to grow beef. For feedback regarding this site, contact Webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org. As I mentioned earlier sulfur can also interact with the other minerals that are in the diet, such as copper. These weeds include Canada thistle, kochia and lambsquarter. Since the margin between desirable and maximum level is so small the possibility of sulfur toxicity is very strong. Additionally, hot weather conditions also can result in evaporation which increases sulfate concentration. Certain weeds seem to be able to accumulate large amounts of sulfate if large amounts of sulfur are available in the soil. Ethanol byproducts may contain a high concentration of sulfur. Add sulfur contributions from supplements that may not be analyzed as part of the TMR. The disease can also occur as outbreaks of disease that affect several animals in a short time period. It is seen occasionally in individual animals, and historically has been attributed to problems with thiamine (a B-vitamin) metabolism. The primary use is for external parasite control such as ticks and mites. If your goal is to produce stinky farts, eat foods that contain sulfur compounds, such as cabbage and eggs. If a cow eats 1 pound of grain, there's usually only a small percentage left in the manure." Although the stimulus for the ILM research projects initially was PEM problems, it appears the more insidious problems are likely far more common and more important. Sulfur is an essential element in body cells and in the amino acids cystine, cysteine and methionine. Dairy cattle rations often include some of these high sulfur feeds. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Many nutrient elements are assessed for total quantity of intake, such as grams/day or lbs/day. Research findings have clarified many aspects of how toxicity occurs, how the cattle respond to excess sulfur intake, and suggest that many dairy operations may have excess sulfur intake as well. A formula of 80 percent hydrated lime, 15 percent copper sulfate, and 5 percent flowers of sulfur (acts as an antiseptic) can be used. Sulfur is a necessary mineral that is needed in order to maintain life. Sulfur salt blocks have generated a love/hate relationship among cattlemen. This will allow the proper absorption of the amino acids without causing an over excess of it in the body. In our region, this severe form of sulfide toxicity is usually seen in feedlot and grazing beef cattle. They can get it from the forages they consume and depending on where you are located they can even get it from the water they drink. Distillers grains are energy and protein sources for stock cows, and growing and finishing cattle. The National Research Council recommends between 1500 to 2000 ppm of sulfur. Data are presented on the total sulfur content of common feeds used in concentrate mixtures for dairy cows. You need to weigh the options yourself and decide if it could be something that will work for you. Whether this benefit was due entirely to reduced sulfate intake or the removal of several impurities was not specifically evaluated. Macrominerals include, besides Sulfur, Calcium, Phosphorus, Salt (NaCl), Magnesium, and Potassium. Sulfur is therefore a component of virtually all forages and concentrates. The disease is characterized by blindness, staggering, inability to rise and sometimes, seizures. These projects demonstrate that PEM is only one of the outcomes of excess sulfur intake. As mentioned earlier sulfur is a necessary mineral for the well being of your animal. This is a question that needs to be studied more thoroughly. Evidence mounts that you should consider sulfur fertilizer for corn, particularly in fields low in organic matter. For cattle in general the maximum tolerable sulfur concentration has been estimated at 0.4% on a dry matter basis, and this estimate seems fairly accurate for tolerances in beef cattle in our research. As with everything there are pros and cons to using them. Cows fed diets (including sulfur from water) with 0.40% sulfur also have lower absorption of selenium than cows fed diets with 0.20% sulfur. If there is a high amount of sulfur, like say in your water, then increasing the forage intake of your cattle to an extent can help with that. Initially, our sulfur research in herds of animals focused on cattle in the feedlot environment. The accepted maximal safe water sulfate concentration is estimated at 300ppm. Beef cattle require a number of minerals for optimal growth and reproduction. This is needed for body growth and not just in the muscle area. It can take as little as 10 pounds per acre of sulfur, typically at a cost of 50¢ per pound or less to give a corn yield response, says Dan Kaiser, University of … Characterization of Naturally Occurring Coliform Mastitis, Pulmonary Hypertension and High Altitude Disease in Cattle, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Animal Population Health Institute (APHI), Colorado Department of Agriculture State Veterinary Office, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Directions, Lodging, & Pet Boarding Information. Sulfur is an element, and is one of the few in nature that can be found in its pure form instead of in combination with other elements. For dairy cows maximum tolerable TSC is recommended to be 0.26% to 0.4% on a dry matter basis. Estimated increased milk production per cow over the following year exceeded 3 lbs per day, and was sufficient to rapidly pay off the purification system. Sulfate salts have been used in feedlot rations as intake limiting agents to minimize the risk of overfeeding. A new form of polio (polioencephalomalacia), resulting from cattle consuming high levels of sulfur in range situations, is hitting some cowherds hard in certain areas of the U.S. Identifying what leads to sulfur toxicity in a range scenario, and how to effectively treat, and ideally prevent, its occurrence can eliminate a costly wreck for producers in many areas. Fall and spring in the northern Plains can be challenging seasons for weaning and calving. Available Form: An Integrated Livestock Management research team, headed by Dr. Dan Gould, professor in Pathology at CSU, has been conducting research on effects of cattle sulfur intake for several years. Some plants produce a modified WDG (45 to 50 percent dry matter). Assessment of sulfur (S) content of each dietary component individually will help identify those that could increase TSC, if consumed selectively. Liters of water intake multiplied by mg S/L = intake of S in mg. Divide by 1000 for intake of sulfur (S) in grams. Supra Sulfa ® III Boluses (Sulfamethazine Sustained Release Boluses) are intended for oral administration to beef cattle and non-lactating dairy cattle (See Warning).Supra Sulfa ® III Boluses are indicated for the treatment of the following diseases when caused by one or more of the following pathogenic organisms sensitive to sulfamethazine: Bacterial Pneumonia and Bovine Respiratory … If excessive sulfur is consumed, imbalances in ruminal microbial metabolism can occur, and excessive ruminal sulfide accumulates. There are four basic steps to the calculation: This assessment is relatively easy, but requires careful attention to the measurements and conversions between various analyses. H2S has the odor of rotten eggs. Because of U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, the concentration of supplemental selenium in diets cannot be increased above 0.3 ppm, even when sulfur can interfere with selenium absorption. An estimate of water intake in liters for lactating cows is = 16 + (1.6 X DMI in kg) + (milk production in kg) + (1.2 X minimum daily temperature in degrees C). If researchers can find an agent that binds those hydrogen ions, they hypothesize that they can reduce the production of hydrogen sulfide and reduce the effects of sulfur toxicity. Sulfur is a chemical element that is present in all living tissues. When the estimated total sulfur concentration (TSC) has been calculated, it can then be compared to the maximum tolerable sulfur concentration. The possibility that dairy cattle may be consuming too much sulfur has not received much attention, and so it is very reasonable that this nutritional issue can be routinely overlooked. To calculate the estimated total sulfur concentration (TSC) as a percentage of dry matter consumed: TSC = %S from water + %S from feed. Analysis of sulfur intake is required to identify this cause. If you are interested in learning more about the role forages play in the cattle digestion then check out one of my previous articles “Roughages more important that you think”. Dry matter of wet distiller grains (WDG) differs from 25 to 35 percent between plants. By estimating the TSC for your herd, based on measured sulfur content of all consumed nutrients, it is possible to evaluate potential hazards. Sulfur is one macromineral that is important for the health of cattle. If these are reported as sulfate (SO4), remember to divide by 3 to calculate the actual sulfur (S) content. Now this might not seem like much you should consider that dormant Bermuda grass can contain over 3000ppm, so you can see how easy it is to cause sulfur toxicity. A deficiency in this can lead to things like diarrhea, light hair coats, broken bones, and infertility. If individual feed ingredients or forage components are analyzed, multiply the % as DM for each ingredient by the proportion of the diet it represents. One of the tasks that it does is it is part of the essential amino acids that make up protein. Use of sulfamethazine in this class of cattle may cause milk residues. Often a winter problem, ringworm is most frequently seen in young animals. Because they can get it naturally it can be very easy to overprovide it. (1991) used supplemental sulphur to manipulate dietary cation-anion balance of dairy cows receiving corn silage diets. Since one of the effects of high sulfate intake is limited feed intake, this may explain some of the reduced performance seen in animals on high sufur diets. The only time really that you will need a sulfur block is when you are feeding a non-nitrogen protein source such as an urea. 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