News & Advice

Pre-mating trace element bloods

Sep 4, 2019 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare, Minerals

Sarah Clarke, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets

Six to eight weeks before the planned start of mating is a good time to look at trace element levels in your herd. This gives time to treat if necessary and ensure your herd has optimal levels before mating starts. 
Copper and selenium levels are at their lowest pasture levels in late winter and spring, which is also when demand is most important for your herd. Copper, selenium and cobalt/B12 are the most important; low copper is directly linked to infertility, and low selenium is linked with retained fetal membranes, and poor immune system defences, which contribute to poor herd fertility. 
Now is also a good time to check your magnesium supplementation is adequate. Sometimes we pick up sub-optimal magnesium levels, from the same blood sample. While low magnesium causes grass staggers, sub-optimal magnesium will cause may be causing a reduced milk production in your herd. 
Don’t forget about your R2 heifers, even if they are out at grazing. Low copper levels in youngstock reduces growth rates as well as fertility, making copper extra important. Younger animals also have higher demands for selenium. Slow release boluses are usually the easiest way to treat deficiencies in youngstock, and your vet can provide either plain copper boluses or multi-mineral boluses such as “All Trace”. Get in touch with your Anexa Vet to discuss further. 

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