Ireland Avoid turn-out Trace Element Gap in ewes to stay one step ahead

Ewes can be at risk of a performance limiting Trace Element Gap due to change to grass with less mineralised feed. Clearly, this coincides with the need for an abundant supply of milk to lambs. The illustration shows the impact on essential trace element supply, shown by the purple line.

To support consistently high growth rates right through to weaning, and vigorous health in ewes too, one option is to give ewes a Allsure bolus about four weeks pre-lambing as they are only fed mineralised feed for a short period and the bolus lasts up to six months. This provides cobalt, iodine and selenium, available with copper if required. The impact is illustrated by the red line.

A critical benefit of this timing, just when ewe appetites decline markedly, is ensuring sufficient trace element supply for foetal development, colostrum production and immune function.

Without supplementation, ewes in many parts of Ireland are at risk of the Trace Element Gap due to widespread pasture deficiencies. As a bonus, up to six months of trace element supply from a Allsure bolus continues well beyond weaning and support ewes in recovering body condition ready for breeding again in the autumn.

Giving a bolus is easy to do and low labour requirement, with high reliability and precision, giving confidence it will provide the essential trace elements needed.

Vet Dr Elizabeth Berry from Animax stresses that making best use of spring grass is essential to minimise production costs. “Hoping that 2021’s finished lamb values hold good, this year could be a great opportunity for sheep farmers to make good conditions for grass to grow,” she says.

“However, Ireland’s weather’s unpredictability does mean that ewe and lamb performance depend on grass quantity and quality. Pre-lambing preparation including a bolus for come-what-may spring grazing conditions make good business sense, with ewes primed while still pregnant to use grazing to the full as soon as it becomes available.”

The leaching bolus technology used in Allsure 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.