Aiming to achieve a steady pattern of growth for young stock? Don’t overlook their mineral status. A balanced intake through supplements will help minimise growth checks and will set you up to reap the benefits down the line.
A mob of healthy young calves is the picture of promise. It’s suggestive of a prosperous and productive future, regardless of whether they’re replacement heifers or high-value dry stock. There are of course, a few challenges to overcome before this goal is reached and the most common of these are growth checks.
While industry liveweight targets are regarded as an important indicator of progress, they’re not always achieved across the board. Animals can fall behind after about six months and from there they struggle to keep up with targets. “Stress is one of the culprits,” explains ruminant nutrition expert, Wendy Morgan from SealesWinslow. “Whenever animals are moved to another property, when they settle into a new mob or even just transition to a different feed, their body responds with stress and their metabolism diverts energy to cope with the stress response. That’s energy which is no longer available for growth,” says Wendy.
Boosting the appetite during those times makes a difference because enhanced intakes readily compensate for the energy deficit. The good news is an increase in appetite can be readily achieved using mineral supplementation. A mineral block is a cost-effective and convenient option and SealesWinslow’s Cattle Young Stock Block provides a mineral mix that includes cobalt – the powerhouse micronutrient for stimulating the appetite. The formulation also includes phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iodine, copper, selenium, and zinc, along with a unique blend of essential oils. Their combined effect helps drive growth rates through improved feed intakes and better nutrient digestion.
The mineral block approach is also a solution for another common issue, namely poor-quality pasture, with its mineral profile that simply doesn’t meet the growth and development needs of young stock.
A mineral block is easy to use and very effective. “Looking after mineral intakes is really important for young stock,” Wendy says. “And because any disruption to their routine can be detrimental to their metabolism, the consistency of having access to the same block is a positive experience for the animals. It counteracts the stress by way of its mineral profile and also through the simple continuity of a familiar feed item.”
Thanks to the molasses-based formulation, when stock lick the block throughout the day they ingest molasses along with the minerals. This is important, because minerals and micronutrients are only needed in tiny quantities, albeit regularly. “You basically just put one tub per 25 animals in the paddock and let the calves help themselves. It really is that easy,” says Wendy. And with typical consumption coming in at around 30 to 100 grams per day, it’s also a very cost-effective supplementation method – especially when you consider the convenience and the great results.
A mineral block is one of the easiest ways of protecting your calving investment and helps you make sure all the hard work you’ve put into your animals is safeguarded against preventable growth checks.
Best of all, you’ll notice benefits when it really counts - once those animals reach maturity. And because it is weight rather than age that influences maturity, you can look forward to improved reproductive performance and productivity.
For more information on how to improve young stock performance, contact your local Fonterra Farm SourceTSR or visit your nearest Farm Source store.
Article supplied by SealesWinslow