Stephanie Hansen

  • Webinar recorded on Mon 9th June, 2014
  • 1 hours 4 mins
  • No Comments

Trace minerals are essential to many biological processes in the animal, including growth, reproduction, and immune function. For example copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc function in enzymes supporting antioxidant capacity of the animal such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. In many areas of South Africa soils contain low concentrations of these trace minerals and some areas have soil with high concentrations of antagonists such as calcium or iron, which are known to decrease availability of zinc and manganese. Additionally, consumption of sulfur as a result of environmental contamination may decrease intestinal absorption of all of these trace minerals, resulting in deficiency. Supplementing trace minerals through oral or injectable means is important to maintain trace mineral status of the ruminant, as trace mineral deficient ruminants may have poor reproductive success, increased susceptibility to disease, lesser growth rates, and decreased carcass value at slaughter. This paper will address the return on investment of trace mineral supplementation of beef and dairy cattle for the farmer and veterinarian using data collected from several studies conducted across the United States. Specifically, the economic value of the following will be discussed:

1) increased weaning weights because of earlier calving due to improved response to artificial insemination,

2) decreased need for treatment of sick cattle during a background/stocker period,

3) increased carcass value due to increased meat quality (marbling score), and

4) increased milk sales values because of decreased somatic cell counts. Adequate trace mineral supplementation may provide a significant return on investment for the cattle farmer and veterinarian because of these demonstrated responses.

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