Turn-out onto spring grass can put cows at risk of a performance limiting Trace Element Gap due to high demand for trace elements coinciding with big reductions or complete withdrawal of mineralised concentrate feed. Although this change provides an abundance of fresh grass, pastures in many parts of the UK are deficient in some essential trace elements.
To support a smooth transition from winter diets to grazing, one option involves giving a Tracesure bolus about four weeks pre-turnout. This provides cobalt, iodine and selenium, available with copper if required, explains vet Dr Elizabeth Berry of Animax.
“Without supplementation, the Trace Element Gap in some systems could take the edge off fertility for some cows,” she says. “Administering a bolus is easy to do and low labour requirement, giving confidence it will provide the essential trace elements needed.
“Once given, it supplies six months of trace elements for peace of mind throughout the summer. This applies to all grazing systems and calving seasons.
“In late pregnancy, this bolus can also ensure sufficient trace element supply to support foetus development and colostrum supply at calving. Clearly, making best use of spring grass is essential to minimise production costs as long as cow health and fertility are maintained.”
Dr Berry continues: “Hoping that beef prices hold good or perhaps increase further, getting trace elements right could help farmers ‘make hay while the sun shines’ this summer.
“However, the UK weather’s unpredictability does mean that cow performance depends on grass quantity and quality. Pre-turnout preparations for come-what-may grazing conditions make good business sense, with cows ready to exploit grazing to the full as soon as it becomes available.”
The leaching bolus technology used in Tracesure supplements, developed by and unique to Animax, is designed for consistent, slow release of trace elements at a regulated rate. The company’s livestock specialists are available to farmers for free advice here.