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Fluorine Requirements of Beef Cattle

CLASS

LIVEWEIGHT (kg)

WATER REQUIREMENTS (L) @ 32 C

Growing heifers, steers & bulls

200

36

350

57

Finishing

300

54

450

78

Lactating Cows

400

60

Mature Bulls

730

78

Table 1 shows the daily water intakes for different classes of beef cattle at 32 C; in hotter weather, cattle will drink more and in colder weather cattle will drink less. The cattle with higher water intakes will be affected by excess fluorine in the water supply more so than cattle with lower water intakes, therefore it is more common to see symptoms of greater severity in cattle that have high water intakes. The cumulative effect of fluorine means that a 400kg lactating cow will accumulate a much higher reserve of fluorine over a shorter period of time due to the higher water intake, compared to a 200kg heifer which has a much lower water intake, therefore taking longer to accumulate sufficient fluorine stores to present symptoms. Symptoms present themselves most commonly as teeth lesions which vary in size and severity depending on the animals?۪ fluorine intake.

To avoid over-supply of trace elements such as fluorine, it is highly recommended that water sources are tested to determine the micro mineral content to determine at what level trace elements are being consumed from water sources. When the water contains excess fluorine it is unfortunately not a problem that can be combated by feeding dry licks; it is a problem which must be dealt with by altering other management practises. One solution is mixing the affected water with a water supply that does not contain excessively high levels of fluorine. Another solution, when only 1 or 2 paddocks are affected, is to manage rotational grazing to ensure that your cattle aren?۪t exposed to the high fluorine source for an excessive amount of time; this allows the excess accumulated fluorine to break down and be removed from the animals system over the break period.

With mining potentially reducing the water quality of bore water, it is important to have your water sources tested to ensure that your herds?۪ mineral intake is not too excessive or too moderate.

Give the team at Top Country a call to find out more!

Author: Elsie Dodd

Tags: BEEF Bore water fluorine toxicities

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