Rearing youngstock in NZ can be difficult to do well and, can be heavily reliant on the weather and grass growth. Because of the unpredictability of weather and climate conditions, it is very important that you are getting right the aspects you can control to give yourself the best chance. One aspect that is often neglected is trace element supplementation. In most areas of New Zealand, the soil does not contain enough Copper or Selenium to maintain adequate levels in growing cattle. Not only can this affect growth of youngstock, but can also affect appearance of coat, immune system and ability to get in calf.
There are several ways to assess the trace element status of your young stock. Blood samples will give you good information about the Selenium levels in the animals, but to assess Copper accurately we must do liver biopsies. To work out the best way to assess your young stock, contact your local Anexa FVC Vet to work out a plan that will give you the best information.
There are many supplementation options for minerals. These range from mineral mixes that are added to the water, through to short and long acting injections and boluses. There are many different products on the market, all with positives or negatives. To find out what will be the best products for your farm and your animals, your Anexa FVC Vet will be able to put together a mineral supplementation programme for your youngstock.
Knowing the status of your young stock and having a plan in place for mineral supplementation will ensure that you are doing everything you can to maximise growth and keep your youngstock healthy.