Whilst feeding some minerals can be beneficial, providing more than necessary can lead to problems in livestock, says Dugdale dairy consultant Adam Collantine.
Mr Collantine says: “There is always a push on farm to feed more minerals, whether that is extra Vitamin E to help improve areas such as somatic cell counts or held cleansings, or maybe more copper to improve fertility. However, incidences of mineral oversupply are just as common as cases of mineral deficiency and the consequences can be just as devastating.”
“Wasting money on minerals that animals don’t need is a common problem,” continues Mr Collantine.
“But more significant damage can be done. For example, if a surplus of copper is fed to a cow, it is stored in the liver before eventually moving into the cells and can put her under stress.”
Liver biopsies are a recommended method of preventing potential mineral toxicity and regular testing is advised.
“A thorough mineral audit should take into account the varying sources of individual minerals with different organic and inorganic sources being utilised differently within the cow”, says Mr Collantine.
“It is extremely important the supply of minerals from all sources is taken into account”.