Original Research

Evaluation of the mineral status of cattle on communal grazing in the North West Province of South Africa

B.G. Mokolopi, D.E. Beighle
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 77, No 4 | a374 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v77i4.374 | © 2006 B.G. Mokolopi, D.E. Beighle | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 June 2006 | Published: 11 June 2006

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B.G. Mokolopi,
D.E. Beighle,

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Twenty five cattle were randomly selected from a herd of animals grazing communally around Mogosane village in the North West Province to evaluate their mineral status based on blood and faecal analysis. Mean faecal phosphorus (P) concentration was curvilinear, increasing from July (0.99 mg/g) to December (3.63 mg/g) and decreasing to 1.29 mg/g in June. Mean P concentration in grass was also curvilinear, increasing from July (0.87 mg/g) to January (1.8 mg/g) and decreasing to 0.9 mg/g in June. There was a high correlation (r2 = 0.89) between faecal and grass P concentrations. Faecal:grass P ratios suggest that the animals were conserving P by reducing faecal P excretion during times of low dietary P. Animals maintained consistent but very low serum inorganic P (SiP) throughout the year (range 1.33-1.95 mg %) and SiP was not correlated with either faecal or grass P. Mean faecal and grass calcium (Ca) concentrations followed a similar pattern to P. There was also a positive correlation (r2 = 0.95) between grass and faecal Ca concentrations. Faecal:grass Ca ratios indicated a conservation of Ca by reducing faecal Ca when dietary Ca was low. Animals were better able to conserve dietary Ca by reducing losses in the faeces than they were P, based on a higher faecal:grass P ratio (1.56) compared with Ca (1.18). Magnesium (Mg) was lost through the faeces during times of high dietary Mg concentrations but was conserved when grass Mg was low.


Blood; Calcium; Faecal; Grass; Communal Grazing; Magnesium; Phosphorus


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1. Phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium contents of pasture and their effect on body condition scores and body mass of communal cattle depending on natural pasture of Mogosane Village, of the North-West Province, South Africa
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