Are bagged minerals in winter diets accurate enough for optimum performance? - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×

Are bagged minerals in winter diets accurate enough for optimum performance?

Elizabeth Berry of Animax suggests that relief for dairy and beef farmers facing big increases in production costs is probably most realistic as small gains in multiple areas

For dairy and beef farmers facing big increases in production costs, relief is probably most realistic as small gains in multiple areas, according to Elizabeth Berry from Animax. One possibility, she suggests, is essential trace elements, which are critical to cattle performance but needed only in tiny daily amounts.

“Even small day-to-day inconsistencies can affect cattle performance,” she says. “With selenium, for example, the daily requirement for 100 dairy cows would fit into one salt sachet that you get with take-away food. The same principle applies to youngstock and beef cattle.

“No matter how thorough the mixing appears to be, there is always a risk with bagged minerals of unpredictable particle dispersal in TMRs, jeopardising accuracy and animal performance.”

Among other supplementation routes, Elizabeth suggests that free-access licks are equally subject to animal-to-animal variation due to preferential uptake and herd pecking order, while drenches need repeating frequently.

“Much of UK grassland, and therefore silage and hay, is deficient in essential trace elements,” she adds. “The autumn transition from grazing to housed feeding is an ideal time to select the most accurate method available for essential trace element supplementation.

“Otherwise, deficiencies can impact energy metabolism, critical enzymes and hormones, and some aspects of immune function. Accurate supply of cobalt, iodine and selenium, with or without copper, is possible for 180-days at a time with a Tracesure bolus.”

Cobalt is needed by rumen bugs for producing vitamin B12, an essential component in energy metabolism and producing red blood cells. Iodine regulates metabolism and conversion of food into energy. Selenium is needed for enzyme synthesis and plays a crucial part in immune function and fertility. Where copper is also deficient, Elizabeth says most farmers are already aware of past bad experience.

The slow release, leaching mechanism used in Tracesure boluses was developed by and is exclusive to Animax. It supplies trace elements at a consistent rate, compatible with animals’ daily requirements. Specialists are available nationwide for information about using Tracesure boluses, using the telephone number provided: 01359 252181.

Grazing to housing transition guidelines:

  • All year or autumn calving dairy: Twice yearly, housing and pre-turnout
  • Spring calving dairy: Twice a year, at drying off and pre-breeding
  • Dairy heifers, years one and two: Twice a year, autumn and spring
  • Suckler cows: Twice yearly, pre-breeding and pre-calving

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more