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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 1993;6(1): 99-105.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.1993.99    Published online March 1, 1993.
Mineral nutrition of grazing sheep in northern china I. Macro-minerals in pasture, feed supplements and sheep
D. G. Masters, D. B. Purser, S. X. Yu, Z. S. Wang, R. Z. Yang, N. Liu, D. X. Lu, L. H. Wu, J. K. Ren, G. H. Li
This study determined the macro-mineral levels in plants and sheep, at different times during the year, at three farms in northern China. Samples of plants, animal tissues and faeces were collected at 5 to 8 times during the year from each site. They were analysed for calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Sodium concentrations in plants were below those recommended for optimum animal production at all sites for all or part of the year (0.01-1.66 g/kg DM). Low concentrations of sodium in faeces were measured and signs of sodium deficiency (soil ingestion) were observed on one farm. There were seasonal trends in other mineral levels in plants and animals. Plants were lowest in potassium (2.3-13.4 g/kg DM), magnesium (1.28-4.82 g/kg DM) and phosphorus (0.24-1.62 g/kg DM) in winter and spring. However, high levels of these elements were supplied in the feed supplements used at this time of the year. During the periods of rapid pasture growth, in summer and autumn, supplements of feed and salt are often not provide even though pasture concentrations of phosphorus and sodium are low. It may be at these times that sheep will be most susceptible to deficiencies of these elements.
Keywords: China; Sheep; Minerals; Sodium; Phosphorus; Potassium

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