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Key trace elements in pasture systems include cobalt, copper, iodine, selenium, and zinc. These trace elements are crucial for Vitamin B12 production, energy metabolism, calf viability, disease resistance, hoof strength, supports the immune system and many more functions. Always consult a veterinarian to determine deficiencies and discuss the importance of balanced supplementation for optimal dairy cow nutrition.
Trace elements are a small and yet extremely important part of dairy cow nutrition. Inadequate intake of any of the essential trace elements can result in reduced milk production, more disease (specific diseases and poorer immunity) and decreased reproductive performance. Important trace elements in pasture systems are Cobalt (Co), Copper (Cu), Iodine (I), Selenium (Se) and Zinc (Zn). Consult with a veterinarian to determine if cows are deficient in trace elements before supplementation.
Required for the production of Vitamin B12, energy metabolism in the rumen and in the cow, fibre digestion and immunity. High manganese in soil reduces cobalt uptake by the plant. Therefore, as pasture is generally high in manganese it is usually low in cobalt. Cobalt can be administered in a variety of ways. Oral dosing with cobalt sulphate, cobalt sulphate fertiliser, strategic use of B12 injections and can be added to spring fertiliser.
Required for growth and production, animal health and immunity, reproduction and calf viability. High intake of molybdenum, sulphur and iron, which often occurs in pasture-based diets, especially in winter and spring, reduces copper uptake by the animal. Copper sulphate can be administered orally, via a copper bullet, copper capsule (needles), copper injection (not recommended for cows during the breeding season) and copper sulphate fertiliser (not recommended in secondary deficiencies).
Warning: Some feeds (e.g. PKE) contain copper, hence caution must be had if providing additional copper supplementation.
Required for intake, energy metabolism and milk production, protein synthesis, reproduction and heat detection. uptake of iodine by pasture can be low. Additionally, iodine is easily leached during wet weather in winter and spring. requirements for iodine increase during cold, wet weather. Iodine can be applied via "Stock iodine" and oil-based slow-release injections.
Required for disease resistance (e.g. mastitis), placental shedding (post-calving cleaning), milk production, reproduction, calf viability and immunity. There are regions that will have high selenium levels in pasture, particularly if they have been fertilised with selenium fertiliser. In such areas supplementation should be avoided. If in doubt, consult with your vet or farm consultant. Selenium can be administered orally or via injection products including slow-release injections and can be added to fertiliser.
Required for growth and production, reproduction, hoof strength and immune system. The need for zinc supplementation will vary from farm to farm. Farms using zinc in summer for facial eczema may still require zinc supplementation in the spring. Pasture analysis should determine the need for supplementation. Excess zinc intake will increase the risk of milk fever and copper deficiency and may depress appetite. Zinc can be administered via Zinc sulphate and zinc oxide.
|Requirements g/100 cows/day
|Zinc * for other than facial eczema