Winter, a good time to identify mineral deficiencies and plan for the next season.
Winter is a good time to talk to your local vet about testing a group of cows from your herd for trace mineral deficiencies. Minerals worth checking in the blood are selenium, B12, iodine, magnesium and zinc. Iodine and zinc can often be variable, however if the average is low it is worth supplementing. It is worth also checking copper with a liver test rather then the blood as that is where copper is stored. These days with large amounts of PKE being fed, livers can often look very high, high copper levels in the liver can be a good early warning of impending build-up to potentially toxic levels.
If the cows are being fed brassica’s through winter and into spring, it will be very important to ensure cows have sufficient iodine, selenium, and copper. Cattle being feed fodder beet at more than 2 kilograms should be receiving some supplementary phosphorous in order to ensure they do not suffer phosphorous related metabolic disease in the spring. A phosphorous blood test pre calving is a good idea to ensure there is sufficient phosphorous levels at calving. Once deficiencies are identified it is a simple matter to introduce an Agvance balanced trace mineral blend into the system. These blends can be dosed through drinking water and at this time of year it is also worth considering putting at least some of the trace element formulation in through the supplementary feeds to make sure enough mineral gets into the cow as they are not drinking as much.
Most farmers will be using some magnesium oxide in their supplementary feeds during the winter/spring period. It is an easy job to incorporate the trace mineral blend into the much bulkier magnesium oxide, then in the case of a feed out wagon – layering the blend evenly across the top of the feed, or blending the combination into feeds where a mixer wagon is in use. Agvance can formulate complete mineral premixes for any herd under any feeding regime. Working with your vet or one our field agents, using our “Customizer” software, we can enter the different feed components and their levels, decide whether it is to be a transition, early lactation, mid lactation diet mix. These blends will include the macro minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous, along with the ideal levels of trace elements required to balance the diet. Using some of the industry standard blends can lead to your cows falling short on some of the key minerals they most require.
Farmers break feeding fodder beet can feed minerals in a loose lick mix, which is poured into cut down drums and placed on the edge of the new break each day. Alternatively, if cows are being fed in the form of baled silage as well, phosphorous, magnesium and trace minerals can be liquefied and poured into the baled silage. A blend made from the correct mineral forms has the ability to deliver good levels of mineral elements to the parts of the body where those minerals are most needed. Poorly formulated mineral blends, owing to the fact the mineral is not bound to a protein may store well in the liver and some other organs that typically mop free minerals in inorganic form, but they will often be poorly translocated to other very important cells of the body. Such cells that make up the keratin layers of the hoof, udder cells, the reproductive system, the immune system, the central nervous system, are areas of the body where elements such as copper and zinc glycine are most necessary.
At Agvance, we are well qualified to take information gained from your herds’ blood tests and liver biopsies, and working in tandem with your vet and Agvance field agent, use the “Customizer” trace element formulation software to take this information and very quickly build a cost effective blend unique to your herd’s requirements. Taking this more scientific approach to trace mineral supplementation ensures that your trace mineral blends remain effective at ensuring herd health and performance at any time of the season, while delivering optimum value for money.
Talk to Agvance today about your herds’ winter/spring mineral requirements.