Turn-out from winter housing or lambing sheds can put cows and ewes at risk of a performance limiting Trace Element Gap due to withdrawal of mineralised concentrate feed. Although this change provides an abundance of fresh grass, pastures in many parts of the UK are deficient in some essential trace elements.
To support a smooth transition from housed diets to grazing, Animax vet Dr Elizabeth Berry advises that one option is to give a Tracesure bolus about four weeks pre-turnout for cows or pre-lambing.
“In both species, this provides cobalt, iodine and selenium, available with copper if required,” she explains.
“In ewes, 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. For cattle, it maintains essential trace element supply when a risk of deficiency in some systems could take the edge off health and fertility for some cows.
“Once given, a Tracesure bolus provides up to six months of trace element supply. 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.”
Dr Berry suggests that making best use of spring grass is essential to minimise production costs for sheep and cattle alike. “Hoping that recent finished lamb and beef values hold good, milk prices too, this year could be a great opportunity for livestock farmers to make hay while the sun shines,” she says.
“However, the weather’s unpredictability does mean grazing livestock performance depend on grass quantity and quality. Preparation now including a bolus for come-what-may spring grazing conditions makes good business sense.”
The leaching bolus technology used in Tracesure 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.