GLOBAL - Calving ease, healthier cows and bigger calves are amongst the benefits of investing in chelated mineral supplements, farmers are being told.
As dairymen plan for spring calving, Novus International is extolling the virtues of mineral supplements because of the performance benefits, not only to cows, but subsequently to calves.
Dr Dennis Nuzbach, an adviser at Novus International, explained that chelated minerals increase the biological availability of key minerals to the animal.
He said that this ensures trace minerals like zinc, copper and manganese transfer into the cow’s tissues.
This improves cow performance but also results in more trace minerals in the calf’s liver.
“This maintains immune system function and connective tissue strength,” explained Dr Nuzbach.
“We see significant improvements in weaning weight per cow exposed and also in calf weight.”
Dr Nuzbach outlined the findings of a two year cow/calf trial which attributed a grading improvement in carcase quality in calves from cows fed a chelated supplement product.
The 216 cow University of Georgia study compared progeny performance of cows fed a copper, zinc and manganese mineral product against offspring from cows fed an iso-mineral/iso-methionine negative control.
Back in 1999, Professor Michael F. Hutjens at the University of Illinois explained the importance of trace minerals on heifer, dry cow and lactating cow rations.
He justified two minerals focused on in the Georgia trial – zinc and copper.
“Copper is needed for blood formation and copper dependent enzymes,” said Professor Hutjens.
“Deficiency symptoms include reduced growth and milk yield, severe diarrhea, stiff joints, changes in hair coat color and texture (greying), loss of hair, and reduced reproductive performance.”
He added that zinc also assists enzymes while having a positive effect on two major dairying bugbears – mastitis and lameness.
Professor Hutjens said: “Organic zinc can improve foot hardness, decrease sole abscesses, and reduce somatic cell counts.”
More recently, dairy farmers in Northern Ireland have been reminded of the benefits of chelated minerals to fertility and reproduction.
The Department of Agriculture (Dardni) has said the key to chelated minerals is that they protect zinc, copper and other elements from being inhibited by other ‘dietary components’.
In the case of copper, this can be molybdenum, sulphur and iron.
Assisting absorption reduced the chance of copper deficiency which can lead to calving difficulties, inhibited conception, retained placenta and delayed oestrus.
A Zinc shortage can result in reduced fertility in both cows and bulls.
To watch a video of Dr Nuzbach discussing chelated minerals, please click here.
Top image via Shutterstock