The demands on animal performance in agriculture are very high. The intensive production systems are coupled with a lot of stress for the animals which is expressed in fights, cannibalism, high mortality rates during transport and sudden death syndrome, but also in lower meat quality.
In addition to the appropriate management factors that are important to minimise stress, the supplementation of minerals (especially Magnesium and Zinc) play a major role in alleviating the symptoms of stress.
Magnesium is one of the most important mineral components of the cell. As an enzyme activator, magnesium catalyses different enzyme reactions which take part in the ion transport in the nerve cell.
Resorption of Magnesium in mono gastric animals takes place mostly in the small intestine. Sufficient supplementation is not only dependent on the analytical content of the ration but also on the availability in the organism. The availability of dietary magnesium is influenced by various factors like animal age and chemical composition of the magnesium source. The organic form, in general shows a better availability than the inorganic form.
In practice the mostly used source of magnesium is the inorganic magnesium oxide, which can vary considerably in its availability for the animal, depending on the origin. Due to the extreme variability in origin, composition and availability of magnesium oxide sources, their use as a standard should be considered cautiously. Furthermore, magnesiumoxide has a bad taste and an extreme high buffering capacity, resulting in lower growth rates.
Magnesium Acetate (magnesium bound to acetic acid) is a 100% available magnesium source, without the negative influence on taste. Also it has no negative impact on the buffering capacity of the feed.
Trials demonstrating its impact on cannibalism and growth are available.