Prevention the profit protector
At drying off cows in the 160 strong Carrick Farm Pedigree Holstein Herd are given Tracesure boluses from Animax to help supplement trace elements through to calving time and into the following lactation.
William Bolton, who farms with his father Joe and uncle, George, is adamant that these boluses help farm profits thanks to the benefit of providing these trace elements.
Their herd averages 9,300kg of milk at 4% fat and 3.25% protein. Cows calve from late September through to early May.
“Tracesure boluses are simple to give and provide long lasting trace elements that cost effectively give us longterm peace of mind,” William commented.
Each application of Tracesure Cu/I Cattle consists of one copper needle bolus supplying copper oxide and a separate selenium, iodine and cobalt leaching bolus giving a consistent, slow release of these vital trace elements at a regulated rate.
“We have used Animax boluses for quite a few years and also give them to springing heifers before calving and to maiden heifers before being AI’d with sexed semen. It is handy when all these animals can get the same bolus and we know they are getting trace elements for 180 days.”
More recently the Boltons have been using Easycal, a high level oral calcium supplement supplied by Animax to help reduce the risk of milk fever around calving.
As William explained Easycal comes in a handy pocket-sized bottle with an applicator and is used on any cow that seems slow to clean or unstable after calving as well as older or overweight cows which are more prone to milk fever.
Neill Acheson of Animax sees Easycal as a ‘must have’ tool at calving time. “Each bottle provides 65g of calcium which is double the amount found in many rival products. Easycal is easily absorbed, non-irritating and effective for 12 to 15 hours so offers peace of mind at calving time.”
As William combines helping run the busy family farm near Maghera, Co Londonderry with a sales role at World Wide Sires he puts a huge emphasis on preventing problems. Problems at calving can take a lot of time and money to put right. Hence the continued use of Tracesure and Easycal from Animax.
Commenting Animax’s Neill Acheson said that with Tracesure the release rate does not ‘spike’ and optimum levels are supplied. Each bolus is shed naturally, after 180 days.
The dry period before the start of lactation is hugely important for cow and udder health. International research demonstrates the important roles that trace elements have through the transition period into lactation on cow health, milk production and fertility.
According to research by Rogers and Murphy in 2000 herd cases of trace element deficiency arise relatively frequently in this part of the world.
However, many trace element deficiencies are subclinical and thus not easily noticed. The losses from trace element deficiencies include poor growth rates, lower reproductive results and reduced production compared to their genetic potential.
According to Dr Elizabeth Berry BVSC, PhD, MRCVS, Veterinary Director with Animax, “Selenium, cobalt and iodine are the main trace elements required, but copper may also be deficient on some farms. Copper is more important, but often deficiency is due to antagonists and then the other three trace elements are also low”.
“Trace element availability is influenced by the season, type of soil and forage, and preservation of forage. Generally fast -growing forages have less trace elements present but often more soil is ingested in the autumn which can lock up trace elements.”
Dr Berry added that, “Many use a blood test to identify trace elements status but this can have limitations and may only reflect one point in time. Analysing forage will give an idea for the whole grazing or housing period.”
- Selenium is required for muscle growth in young animals and for disease resistance in all ages, with a higher rate being shown to be needed during the dry period in dairy cattle.
- Cobalt is used by cows to manufacture vitamin B12. Calves often have a high requirement for cobalt and quickly become deﬁcient.
- Iodine deficiency can result in a variety of issues coming up to calving including abortion or still births and poor vigour in new-born calves. It can also affect fertility.
- Copper is involved in a variety of enzyme reactions and can cause a wide range of symptoms.
Independently trialled at Moorepark, Co Cork by the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Teagsac, Animax boluses provide grazing cows with the four trace elements not adequately supplied by grass, particularly iodine.