For stud farmers who need to provide fellow stud and commercial farmers with the best genetic material, precision farming plays a very important role to make it possible.
Nutrition is the base of any successful beef-cattle farming operation. An effective and sustainable pasture-management system is the most important part, but it is expected that nutritional deficiencies will be experienced during some parts of the year and during critical production stages. These deficiencies must be supplemented to meet the needs of the specific production classes. Only when the animals’ nutrition and condition are optimal can we expect optimal results from other management inputs like breeding.
Trace-element supplementation is part of nutrition and is getting more attention nowadays due to its important role in optimal production. Although trace minerals are only required in small quantities, they play a critical role in many bodily processes and it should receive due attention. We can no longer afford to pay attention to trace elements only once the symptoms of clinical deficiencies are observed. These symptoms are but the tip of the iceberg. Suboptimal levels of trace elements are the hidden part of the iceberg that do the most damage.
As can be seen from the figure, optimal immunity is the first production parameter that is negatively affected by suboptimal levels of trace elements. Thereafter, maximum reproduction and production are negatively affected, followed by normal production and reproduction. It may be noticed that something is amiss at this stage, but is often only noticed once clinical symptoms appear.
South Africa is generally regarded as a country with low levels of trace minerals, which makes supplementation with trace minerals even more important, especially when there is great pressure on the periods between calving for cows to calve annually and wean a heavy calf.
Most commercial lick blocks contain trace elements that are important as a daily base supplement. However, oral supplementation is limited in that space constraints and dominant animals in the herd may limit some animals’ lick intake – and therefore their trace-mineral intake. Antagonists like calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), and sulphur (S) also play a big role in negatively influencing the gut’s uptake of trace minerals.
Refer to the figure for the intricate interactions between minerals and trace minerals.
Injectable trace-mineral supplements like Multimin® were developed to overcome the limitations of oral supplements. Multimin® avoids the gut antagonists, because the trace minerals are taken up right from the point of injection and circulated throughout the body via the bloodstream for uptake and storage by organs like the liver. Another advantage is that every animal gets the right amount. Additional top-up supplementations can be administered before the start of critical periods in the production cycle when the demand for trace minerals is high, namely:
The different formulations of Multimin® that have been developed over the past 25 years supply the most important trace minerals in a balanced ratio (for optimal uptake), sufficient quantities (to be effective), and in a tissue-friendly formulation. Trials in South Africa and internationally (USA, Australia, and New Zealand) demonstrating the benefits of Multimin® make it the most-researched injectable trace-mineral supplementation.
Contact your Virbac Technical Sales Advisor for more information on our products.