How proper vitamin and mineral control can make you tens of thousands of dollars a year

How proper vitamin and mineral control can make you tens of thousands of dollars a year

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You can’t afford to be losing money through lower birthing rates and inconsistent carcass weights. That’s why it’s vital to pay close attention to animal health and have a thorough management plan in place to ensure that vitamins and trace minerals aren’t being depleted.

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When times are tough, you can’t afford to be losing money through lower birthing rates and inconsistent carcass weights. 

That’s why it’s vital to pay close attention to animal health and have a thorough management plan in place to ensure that vitamins and trace minerals aren’t being depleted, especially during calving. 

It’s also a fundamental mistake to view the two as mutually exclusive, as some producers do. In fact, both are essential to better reproductive results and the subsequent profits that flow on from that. 

For example, the trace mineral zinc is needed for the body to produce around 100 different enzymes, which are responsible for things like sperm production and maintaining the uterus for embryo implantation. 

Vitamin A on the other hand is needed to form components of the eye needed for vision. Simply put, the function of a mineral cannot be replaced by a vitamin (with the exception of cobalt by vitamin B12).

While a lot of essential vitamins and trace minerals can be regulated through diet, it is hard to keep an accurate eye on levels. We as humans struggle to moderate our own nutritional levels, so it is illogical to expect our livestock to instinctively eat more of one thing than another to top up their zinc.

That’s why supplementation is important, especially during calving. When the heifer is pregnant she naturally nourishes her calf. This can often lead to her depleting her own levels to support her young, which in turn can lead to calves being born with suboptimal nutrient reserves or the mothers struggling to fall pregnant again early in their fertility period. 

While trace mineral supplementation can be given orally, injections like Virbac’s Multimin have been proven to increase absorption rates, guaranteeing producers get more consistent results. 

In fact, the company is so confident in the product that they recently initiated a nationwide challenge. The early results are in and they’re impressive.

The leading animal health manufacturer launched the Multimin Performance Ready Challenge back in May, which sees producers work with a veterinarian to devise and implement a management plan using Multimin trace mineral injections.

Since its inception, Esperance based cattle stud owners Ryan and Elisha Willing have seen up to a 10 per cent increase in conception rates to nearly 100 per cent after using Multimin.

The Willing’s often have issues with their livestock’s copper and selenium because the sand plain that makes up most of the area doesn’t hold nutrients well. 

Going into the challenge, their goal was to increase fertility, conception rates and productivity through the use of Multimin 4 in 1 trace mineral injection.

To achieve this, they split 300 cows into two groups to assess improvements. The first group was just treated with HyB12 and Cydectin Long Acting for Cattle. The second, was additionally treated with Multimin. Within a few weeks, the Willing’s were able to visually distinguish the treated animals from the control animals.

When preg-tested in October, the Willing’s saw above 90% conception in both groups, with the Multimin treated animals slightly ahead. However, the exciting data is due early in 2019, when the Willing’s are able to monitor the calving distribution of his females. Previous trials have shown that Multimin is able to improve first cycle conception by around 10%. If this is replicated for the Willing’s, it will have a significant impact on their bottom line.

Victoria’s Renee Murfett has already seen some success when it came to disease reduction. The Framlingham based dairy farmer trialed the effect of Multimin 4 in 1 trace mineral injection on immunity and growth rates in dairy calves. 

The trial looked at the effect of injections with Multimin in 105 female dairy calves compared to a non-treated control group at birth, six weeks of age, and again at twelve weeks of age. 

The first signs of difference between the Multimin treated and non-treated calves occurred at four days of age. Only the non-treated calves developed scours which needed to be treated with electrolytes. Due to a relatively dry season and favourable weather conditions for calves, Renee did not see as much of a disease challenge during the trial period as would be usually expected.

At seven days of age, Renee could start to see visual improvements in the Multimin treated calves which had darker and shinier coats compared to the non-treated animals. Skin is the first line of defence and if animals have healthy skin, their immunity to disease is higher, and they can better fight off infections. With improved immune function comes improved future productivity. 

Renee also observed that when calves were transitioned onto hard feed, many from both groups developed scouring. However, the Multimin treated animals continued to feed well, while some of the control animals went off their feed for two to three days.

At 84 days of age, there was no longer a visual difference between the treated and non-treated animals which shows Multimin played a greater role when calves were of a younger age and more vulnerable to pick up disease during critical times such as weaning. 

Overall, this trial confirms the critical roles that trace elements play in immunity and ultimately growth rates. The trial shows that immunity can be enhanced by use of Multimin, and that optimisation of trace minerals at high demand timepoints can provide improved animal health and productivity.

For more information about the Multimin Performance Ready Challenge and ongoing results, click here.

Advertiser content for Virbac.

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