County Down farmer supplements lambs effectively during peak early season grass growth months
Rapid growth in May and June can leave grazed grass up to 50% deficient in copper, selenium, iodine and cobalt, says Dr Elizabeth Berry BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, Animax Company Veterinary Director.
“These four trace elements impact energy, production, growth, reproduction and the nervous system,” Elizabeth says. “However, soil derived minerals can become diluted during peak grass growth periods to a point of negatively impacting feed conversion – extending finishing times.”
Maximising livestock production from homegrown forage is the key to success for Hilltown Co Down farmer Seamie Fegan. Lambing Pedigree Blackface and crossbred commercial ewes happens from Mid-March, so it is essential to reduce finishing times and get lambs off grass as early as possible.
The Wilson family were seeing little benefit from using a mineral drench on the ewes, so started using Animax’s Tracesure© boluses on their sheep and cattle six years ago. Tracesure© Sheep with Copper is given to all sheep apart from Texel’s who have the non-copper version.
To support growth rates during peak grass growth months, Seamie supplements lambs at 7-8 weeks of age with Tracesure© Lamb Finisher with Copper, a slow release trace element bolus, along with a 2-gram copper oxide needle capsule both from Animax Ltd, providing up to five months supplementation.
“Lambs seem to pick up and keep thriving, and even look healthier, and finish quicker,” says Seamie. “Especially in the colour of their coats.”
According to Elizabeth, the leaching bolus technology is the most effective way to maintain trace mineral requirements for grazing livestock. Once inside the rumen or reticulum, Tracesure© Lamb Finisher with Copper will provide supplementation of copper, selenium, iodine and cobalt. Specifically designed for finishing lambs, the bolus leaches trace elements at a constant rate for up to five months.
“Not only does this optimise trace element supplementation for finishing lambs, but it is also a hassle-free way of eliminating uncertainly,” she says. “Leaving you time to focus on other aspect of management while your flock maximises performance and growth rates.”