News & Advice

Dairy grazers and trace elements – the easy, the cheap, and the safe

Jul 8, 2020 | Dry stock, Grazing youngstock

Ashley O’Driscoll, Veterinarian, Anexa Vet Services

There are many different ways that you can give dairy grazers trace elements (TE). But how do you know if you actually need to give the stock extra trace elements? Are you just wasting money?

First off, talk to your neighbours and your local vet. Is your area historically low in copper, selenium, or other trace elements? Have you, or anyone nearby, done soil testing?
The best way to find out if your grazing heifers need supplementation is to get the dairy farmer to have liver biopsies done as soon as they come home from your property. This can also be done at your property, but not all yards are set up to make it easy. You may also want to do liver biopsies on your own stock (ewes, cows, bulls). Note: this is helpful for assessing your stock but may not reflect the higher need for trace elements in growing dairy heifers.

The main trace elements that need supplementation in the Waikato are Copper, Selenium, and B12 (Cobalt). These can be given via injections, boluses, prills (fertilizer), and salt licks. The way a trace element should be given depends on how deficient the stock are, how easy/hard it is to yard and handle stock, how feasible it is to graze stock on pasture treated with prills, the age of the stock, and (of course) cost.

Talk to your local veterinarian or Anexa Sales Rep about your options; it’s about much more than cost. It’s about how long the product lasts, how well it works, how easy it is to give, and how safe it is. Don’t waste your money or compromise the health of your grazers. Let us help you make the right decision!

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