Trace elements are a small but vital component of animal nutrition. A lack of essential trace elements can affect production, reproduction, disease resistance and growth.
Addressing trace element issues requires a well-informed approach, which considers the following:
Be wary of general guidelines or rules of thumb with trace elements. Seek advice from your nutrient specialist and your vet to determine the best way forward and check, check and check again.
Options: Pasture selenium levels can be boosted with annual applications of Ballance selenium fertiliser. This is a combination of sodium selenate and barium selenate for fast and sustained release over the year. Use mixed pasture herbage tests to monitor pasture levels. For direct-to-animal options, there are oral or injection products as well as molasses blocks and specific nutritional supplements added to water troughs.
Options: Ballance granular cobalt should be applied annually with fertiliser based on mixed herbage tests. Oral cobalt sulphate products or strategic use of Vitamin B12 injections for young stock are direct-to-animal options, as are some molasses blocks and other nutritional supplements.
Options: Applying copper sulphate to pasture is worth considering. However, depending on the farm this could be an expensive approach. Direct-to-animal methods include oral copper sulphate, copper bullets or capsules. Injections are also available but are not recommended for cows during the breeding season. Copper is also included in some molasses blocks and other nutritional supplements.
Options: Zinc deficiency is extremely rare in New Zealand pasture, except where over-liming has occurred. Direct-to-animal options usually involve dosing feed, pasture or water with zinc sulphate or zinc oxide. As a facial eczema countermeasure, Zincmax+ is recommended, as it contains organic copper to offset the depletive effects of the zinc and has a highly palatable peppermint flavour. Zincmax+ can be used in water troughs or in-line dispensers.
Options: Fertiliser is not a viable option. Use of oral supplements, teat sprays or slow-release injections is recommended. Iodine-fortified molasses blocks and water-soluble nutritional additives may also be included in the supplementation programme.
For more advice on trace elements, talk to your local Fonterra Farm Source TSR or Ballance Nutrient Specialist
Article supplied by Ballance Agri-Nutrients