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. 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. As I mentioned earlier sulfur can also interact with the other minerals that are in the diet, such as copper. Add the sulfur contribution from estimated water intake, Express the sum of sulfur intakes as a % of total DMI. 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. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. A sulfur deficiency is not very common but an excess of sulfur, known as sulfur toxicity, is a more common occurrence in cattle. Sulfur is a drug so I don't know how much should be feed. We also recognize this problem in range cattle. 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. The cow requires dietary sulfur primarily to provide adequate substrate for maximal ruminal microbial growth. Like many nutrients, however, it can be consumed at excessive levels that become harmful to the animal. 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 that is not always true. One of the tasks that it does is it is part of the essential amino acids that make up protein. Although severe thiamin deficiency states have not been demonstrated under high sulfur intake conditions, moderate thiamin deficits are possible. 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. 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. 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. Neither one of these are desirable if you are trying to grow beef. Daily dry matter intake = (1.85% X BW in lbs) + (0.3 X daily milk in lbs). They reported lower blood pH, lower urine pH, lower blood HCO3 levels and … This sulfur salt lick or block is especially recommended when feeding urea or other non-protein nitrogen compounds in ruminant diets. Sulfide exists in the rumen in 2 forms. Despite this mineral’s importance it is very rare that you will need to supplement for it. 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. The sulfur occurs as sulfate salts. 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. Assessment of sulfur (S) content of each dietary component individually will help identify those that could increase TSC, if consumed selectively. Then add the proportionally adjusted sulfur concentrations for all the components. For feedback regarding this site, contact Webmaster at cvmbsweb@colostate.edu. When there is an excess of sulfur it can cause different types of problems. Courtesy of Drs. This is probably due to the formation of copper sulfide and/or the thiomolybdate-copper complex. Privacy Statement | Be sure to include sulfur (S) contributed by feed additives used to adjust DCAD. Now you may be asking “just how much sulfur does my cow need?”. Producers that use distillers grains must be aware of t… Add sulfur contributions from supplements that may not be analyzed as part of the TMR. Sulfur. When the estimated total sulfur concentration (TSC) has been calculated, it can then be compared to the maximum tolerable sulfur concentration. It can also be found in large concentrations in hair, skin, and hooves. 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. Corn, molasses and sugar beet processing byproducts can be high in sulfur because sulfur-containing acidifying agents may be used in the process. If these are reported as sulfate (SO4), remember to divide by 3 to calculate the actual sulfur (S) content. 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. 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”. Since it can have a negative effect if their is a high amount of sulfur in your cow’s diet then you may need to provide some extra copper supplementation. Since the margin between desirable and maximum level is so small the possibility of sulfur toxicity is very strong. If individual feed ingredients or forage components are analyzed, multiply the % as DM for each ingredient by the proportion of the diet it represents. Daily water intake of dairy cattle is influenced by many factors. 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. This is a problem of the cerebral cortex that occurs suddenly and leads to blindness, abnormal behavior, severe depression, convulsions, and death. 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. More commonly, lower sulfur intakes that do not produce clinical disease can substantially decrease animal performance. 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. Because they can get it naturally it can be very easy to overprovide it. r/Ranching: A place for stockmen, grass farmers, and cowboys to gather. This sulfur salt lick or block is intended for beef cattle, dairy cows, goats and sheep. Higher amounts (0.29%) are recommended for calves consuming milk or milk replacers. The disease can also occur as outbreaks of disease that affect several animals in a short time period. Sulphur plays an important role in the dietary cation-anion balance of dairy cows. When cattle are transitioning to high sulfate intake conditions, the ruminal sulfide concentration peaks 1 to 3 weeks after the change. This makes the range between requirement and toxicity is very small. A deficiency in this can lead to things like diarrhea, light hair coats, broken bones, and infertility. 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. Analyze all feeds and estimate total feed intake. The saliva that they produce while chewing their cud can help negate the high amount of sulfur that they could be consuming. If that isn’t enough just providing the block itself won’t help you out much anyways. As an example on one dairy, water tested high for sulfate and a reverse osmosis purification system was installed. One of the most important sources of dietary sulfur in our region is water. Disclaimer | 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. "If you are feeding grain, you're going to see seed in manure, especially if it isn't ground. What you want to notice is the overall percentage. Ringworm, an unsightly skin disease, is contagious from animal to animal and can be transmitted between species. Sulfur intake can occur from a variety of sources, and it requires a close look to determine what level of sulfur a herd is consuming. 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). Copper bioavailability is decreased by high dietary sulfur concentrations. Fall and spring in the northern Plains can be challenging seasons for weaning and calving. After calcium and phosphorus, it is the third most abundant mineral in the human body. 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. Dry matter of wet distiller grains (WDG) differs from 25 to 35 percent between plants. Sulfur is a necessary mineral that is needed in order to maintain life. It can be found in every cell of the body and helps to regulate body functions. Like many nutrients, however, it can be consumed at excessive levels that become harmful to the animal. Ethanol byproducts may contain a high concentration of sulfur. Do not use in calves under one (1) month of age or calves being fed an all milk diet. 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. Substituting urea and other nonprotein nitrogen compounds for natural proteins in the diet lowers the sulfur content of a ration. According to a paper from the University of Georgia the sulfur requirement is only 0.15% of intake. H2S has the odor of rotten eggs. A formula of 80 percent hydrated lime, 15 percent copper sulfate, and 5 percent flowers of sulfur (acts as an antiseptic) can be used. As mentioned earlier sulfur is a necessary mineral for the well being of your animal. This is good for their kidneys, other muscles, and heart. If excessive sulfur is consumed, imbalances in ruminal microbial metabolism can occur, and excessive ruminal sulfide accumulates. Sulfur blocks help cattle to retain some salt. Since some ground water has high concentrations of sulfate, water purification may be very beneficial for affected dairies. 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. When dietary sulfur is consumed by ruminants it is reduced to sulfide by ruminal microorganisms. However, certain research shows that a diet with small amounts of sulfur may be beneficial in other ways as well. Whether this benefit was due entirely to reduced sulfate intake or the removal of several impurities was not specifically evaluated. By estimating the TSC for your herd, based on measured sulfur content of all consumed nutrients, it is possible to evaluate potential hazards. Various combinations of these forages commonly explain some of the range cattle problems we have seen. But if dairy cattle consume sufficient sulfur, PEM will occur in dairy breeds as well. Sulfur is an essential nutrient in cattle diets. To estimate sulfur concentration relative to DMI, contributed by water: To estimate sulfur concentration relative to DMI provided by feed: Dan Gould, DVM, PhD, Professor of Pathology, CSU. The samples of hominy feed and corn gluten feed analyzed contained approximately 10 times as much sulfur as earlier values indicate. Therefore high sulfate water can represent a substantial amount of sulfur intake in these animals. This will tell you what nutrients it will provide and what it will be lacking in. Additionally, hot weather conditions also can result in evaporation which increases sulfate concentration. 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. A general recommendation is to feed a nitrogen-to-sulfur ratio of 10:1. It would provide any help and in most cases the risks outweigh any potential, if any, benefits. The maximal tolerated concentration of sulfur for cattle and sheep depends on the type of diet. 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… Sulfur is an essential component of certain amino acids, vitamins, hormones and sulfated polysaccharides. Use of sulfamethazine in this class of cattle may cause milk residues. The primary use is for external parasite control such as ticks and mites. Distillers grains are energy and protein sources for stock cows, and growing and finishing cattle. This will ensure that your cattle will not be over consuming it. If a cow eats 1 pound of grain, there's usually only a small percentage left in the manure." Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Starch content of distillers grains is lower than corn grain. Sulfur is present in protein, certain vitamins (thiamin and biotin), enzymes and other compounds. It is seen occasionally in individual animals, and historically has been attributed to problems with thiamine (a B-vitamin) metabolism. There is a very real possibility that you are limiting your cows' productivity by effects of high sulfur. Some plants produce a modified WDG (45 to 50 percent dry matter). Determine the concentration of sulfur (S) in the total mixed ration or individual diet ingredients.These are usually reported as % S as DM. Many nutrient elements are assessed for total quantity of intake, such as grams/day or lbs/day. All Rights Reserved. Selecting the correct mineral supplement is important for maintaining healthy animals, and optimal growth and reproduction. Excess ruminal sulfide can depress ruminal motility Excess dietary sulfur can also result in secondary metabolic effects due to interference with other nutrients. Under normal circumstances the animal can get all the sulfur their body requires just from their normal diet. Minerals not provided by feed can be easily and inexpensive… 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. Tucker et al. Too much sulfur can cause problems with fat loss, though. Sulfur is an essential nutrient in cattle diets. The adverse effects of excessive sulfur intake can vary. When crystallized, it is yellow. Contact Us | To calculate the estimated total sulfur concentration (TSC) as a percentage of dry matter consumed: TSC = %S from water + %S from feed. Available Form: Compared with all other farm animals, lactating dairy cows require the greatest amount of water in proportion to their size. The accepted maximal safe water sulfate concentration is estimated at 300ppm. Sulfur is used as a feed and mineral supplement to goats and other classes of livestock. 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. Dan Gould and Frank Garry. 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. This is only so that they animal can properly digest and absorb the protein. Such performance problems may attributed to another cause (heat stress, copper deficiency) while the potential role high sulfur has played goes unnoticed. In situations where individual’s animals may consume more of a particular dietary ingredient selectively, dietary total sulfur concentration (TSC) may be elevated. When all else fails you should follow the feeding instructions that is provided on the tag of the sulfur block. 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. The initial focus of these research efforts was on a brain disease of cattle known as polioencephalomalacia (PEM, polio, brainer cattle). Determine the concentration of sulfate (SO4) in the water by laboratory analysis. They  also say that the maximum tolerable level is .40%. High water sulfate content is common in this region, but cannot be predicted solely on a geographic basis, requiring water analysis for proper identification. Some Colorado dairies have indeed found production benefits from water purification. This is a question that needs to be studied more thoroughly. A recent national survey of water sources for beef cattle found 21% of samples exceeded the levels considered safe for all livestock. Grasses tend to be low in sulfur, although under some circumstances grasses can accumulate high concentrations of sulfate. 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 … 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 will prevent any deficiency in that area. High sulfur intake conditions can result in conditions that lead to destruction of thiamin. These projects demonstrate that PEM is only one of the outcomes of excess sulfur intake. The National Research Council recommends between 1500 to 2000 ppm of sulfur. Unless you will be feeding a non-nitrogen protein then putting out a sulfur block probably wouldn’t be necessary. If sulfur intake is large, excessive rumen-generated sulfide can be absorbed in sufficient quantities to result in polio. This is needed for body growth and not just in the muscle area. Often a winter problem, ringworm is most frequently seen in young animals. These weeds include Canada thistle, kochia and lambsquarter. A couple of symptoms of toxicity can be reduced growth rate and appetite. Sulfur is one macromineral that is important for the health of cattle. There are ones who love them and swear by them, then there are others who feel they are a waste of money. Apply to CSU | 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. Sulfur is an essential element in body cells and in the amino acids cystine, cysteine and methionine. One of the tasks that it does is it is part of the essential amino acids that make up protein. Sulfur salt blocks have generated a love/hate relationship among cattlemen. The ones that love them say that it helps with external parasite control. This sum is the %S of feed or forage. In the fall, wet, cold conditions negate the natural insulation value of the hair coat … Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and is an integral part bone and nerve … (1991) used supplemental sulphur to manipulate dietary cation-anion balance of dairy cows receiving corn silage diets. Calcium. This will allow the proper absorption of the amino acids without causing an over excess of it in the body. It can also be found in large concentrations in hair, skin, and hooves. © Copyright 2019 by College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences In our region, this severe form of sulfide toxicity is usually seen in feedlot and grazing beef cattle. The purpose of this article is to draw your attention to this issue and encourage you to evaluate your herd's sulfur feeding. Please enable scripts and reload this page. Sulfur is a necessary mineral  that is needed in order to maintain life. 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. Colorado State University. Sulfur Toxicity in Feedlot Cattle1 John J. Wagner, Ph.D. With moderately high levels of sufur intake PEM may not occur, but animal performance can be affected. Evidence mounts that you should consider sulfur fertilizer for corn, particularly in fields low in organic matter. It will not provide the other nutrients needed because it is just salt and sulfur. Water purification can be beneficial by removing multiple mineral contaminants. Allow cows to stand in dry soil or sand, even if it means piling it on concrete for cows to stand on. Cruciferous forages, such as turnip, rape, and oilseed meals are also rich in sulfur. by Heather Smith Thomas. Beef cattle require a number of minerals for optimal growth and reproduction. Sulfur used for body storage or milk produc- tion increased with increasing sulfur except for the MHA treatment. The soluble hydrosulfide anion is in the rumen fluid phase and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas accumulates in the rumen gas cap. Sulfur is therefore a component of virtually all forages and concentrates. 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. 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. 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. 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. The maximum tolerable dietary concentration of sulfur is 0.4% of the ration on a dry matter basis. Recommended dietary sulfur concentrations are 0.20% of diet dry matter for most dairy cattle (NRC 2001). As with everything there are pros and cons to using them. It can then be either incorporated into microbial protein or absorbed, converted to sulfate and excreted. The microorganisms will need the inorganic sulfur to create the right amino acids from the NPN. 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 … 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. Compared to the other minerals typically sulfur does not need to be supplemented. You need to weigh the options yourself and decide if it could be something that will work for you. 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. Ringworm in Cattle. Equal Opportunity | Foods that lead to increased gas production increase the volume of flatus. Initially, our sulfur research in herds of animals focused on cattle in the feedlot environment. While there is some benefit to feeding sulfur one must also be careful. 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. The best way to prevent this from occurring is to have the feedstuffs you will be providing tested. 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. Sulfate salts have been used in feedlot rations as intake limiting agents to minimize the risk of overfeeding. Analysis of sulfur intake is required to identify this cause. If a total mixed ration is analyzed, this is the value to be used as %S for feed. The disease is characterized by blindness, staggering, inability to rise and sometimes, seizures. Data are presented on the total sulfur content of common feeds used in concentrate mixtures for dairy cows. But fiber and protein content is higher in distillers grains than corn grain. Dairy cattle rations often include some of these high sulfur feeds. Although this article has focused on sulfur intake, other water impurities such as nitrate and nitrite can also affect dairy production. In hot weather sulfur intake from water can be elevated due to increases in water consumption. Some researchers have suggested a lower maximum tolerable sulfur concentration of 0.26% for lactating dairy cattle. It has recently come to light that it can cause different types of neurological ailments and can even cause polio in cattle. Website Login 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 is a chemical element that is present in all living tissues. I have always been told the sulfur blocks will help cows shed off the old hair and it seems to work when I've tried them. If your goal is to produce stinky farts, eat foods that contain sulfur compounds, such as cabbage and eggs. Sulfur has been shown to improve the digestion of cellulose such as methionine and cysteine. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Flatus that is high in sulfur-containing compounds is more odiferous than farts consisting almost exclusively of nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. For dairy cows maximum tolerable TSC is recommended to be 0.26% to 0.4% on a dry matter basis. Many distillers grains samples test between 25 and 35 percent protein. Cattle producers can mitigate the winter conditions to some extent with proper planning, facility design and good management practices. Dr. Gould and colleagues have demonstrated that a common cause of PEM is sulfur toxicity. A person may be at risk for contracting ringworm when handling affected animals. It can be found in every cell of the body and helps to regulate body functions. Water consumption by cattle is temperature dependent and increases greatly at high temperatures. “Roughages more important that you think”, The Insider’s Guide to Cattle Summer Mineral. Macrominerals include, besides Sulfur, Calcium, Phosphorus, Salt (NaCl), Magnesium, and Potassium. Diets for growing and finishing cattle should be formulated to contain 0.15 percent sulfur on a dry matter basis. This is needed for body growth and not just in the muscle area. Certain weeds seem to be able to accumulate large amounts of sulfate if large amounts of sulfur are available in the soil. 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. Routinely use a dry mineral mixture in a walk-through foot box. Lower levels of ruminal sulfide can also produce adverse effects. It has also been shown to interfere with the metabolism of copper, which brings it’s own problems. Microbial metabolism can occur, and hooves may cause milk residues and in most cases the risks any! Cause violative tissue residues to remain beyond the withdrawal time high dietary sulfur primarily to provide adequate substrate for ruminal. Recommended to be low in organic matter and protein content is what does sulfur do for cows distillers. Article is to feed a nitrogen-to-sulfur ratio of 10:1 is needed in order to maintain.. 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