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Deciphering Mineral Gobbledegook: Are your cows getting what they need?


There are two broad categories to consider when providing minerals to your herd.


o Macrominerals - required in large quantities to support healthy lactation (calcium, magnesium, sodium (salt)). These are minerals that tend to be of higher quantities in milk and are delivered by supplying bulk products such as limeflour, gypsum, mag oxide/sulphate/chloride & salt OR premixes added to meal such as mineral boost ®.

  • Imbalances or deficiencies in macrominerals lead to ‘metabolic diseases’ such as MILK FEVER and GRASS STAGGERS.

o Microminerals equally as important but required in much smaller quantities to support cow health (selenium, B12, copper, zinc). These are minerals that tend to be added in smaller quantities to the cows daily water supply via dosatron etc. There are many products on the market and selection of the best suited mineral can be very confusing.

  • Imbalances or deficiencies in microminerals lead to many diseases such as traditional trace element deficiencies - peat scours (copper), bush sickness (B12), and white muscle disease (selenium). It can ALSO manifest as impaired immunity, leading to:

· Mastitis

· Retained membranes / ‘dirty’ cows

· Reproductive failure

· Lameness

· Susceptibility to gut and respiratory infection


o When selecting microminerals this basic guide may help:

  • Inorganic / Sulphates: Inexpensive, lowest bioavailability, aid to prevention of deficiency in low producing herds, recommended in herds where production is approx. 300KgMS/cow.

  • Chelated minerals: Low to mid-range cost , low bioavailability, aid to prevention of deficiency in average producing herds, recommended in herds where production is approx. 300 - 400KgMS/cow.

  • Glycinates: Mid-range cost , low bioavailability, aid to prevention of deficiency in average producing herds, recommended in herds where production is approx. 300 - 400KgMS/cow.

  • ZINPRO range: More costly, high bioavailability, prevention of deficiency and promotion of animal health in high producing herds, recommended in herds where production is >400KgMS/cow. Scientifically validated.

  • Propath LQ Zinc 180: (Pictured) Is an excellent product which can be used IN ADDITION to most other trace mineral blends to maximise cow health and performance through stress periods (calving - mating). Supported by good science.


If you would like to learn more about the different mineral options available, please contact one of the vets here at FVM.


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