Why do Dairy Cows need Mineral Supplements?
The supply of minerals, trace elements and vitamins to the high yielding dairy cow, should be regarded as an integral part of nutrition of equal importance to energy and protein supply.
Mineral, trace element and vitamin supply can have a profound effect on production levels, as well as on herd health and fertility of high yielding cows.
Mineral nutrients are used in countless metabolic pathways within the dairy cows body. Even small mineral deficiencies can result in sub-optimal cow performance. Minerals affect many areas associated with massive financial costs to the dairy industry. These would include feed efficiency, lameness, clinical mastitis, high somatic cell counts, retained placenta, fertility, milk fever, general immunity and overall herd health and longevity of the dairy cow.
Minerals that meet the Cows Requirements
A planned approach to mineral nutrition is essential to ensure efficient and profitable milk production. It is no longer acceptable, profitable or desirable to do nothing and leave mineral requirements to chance. Equally it is no longer acceptable to feed a standard off the shelf mineral with out first checking that the cows requirements are met. Remember as well that that summer grazing contains no higher levels of mineral, than the grass silage fed during the winter. Cows mineral requirements do not drop in the summer.
Could this be the reason that most dairy herds have trouble with performance and fertility of their cows during the Autumn, most years?
Also it should also be remembered that late lactation cows, as well as heifers, beef cattle and dry cows on mainly forage diets and receiving little or no compound feed also have requirement for minerals, vitamins and trace elements.
The Role of Protected Minerals
Most mineral deficiency in the UK, is not due to primary deficiency or a lack of a particular mineral nutrient, but rather is due to secondary mineral deficiency caused by mineral interactions with high levels of one mineral nutrient acting as an antagonist preventing the absorption or "locking up" another mineral nutrient. This is why feeding high levels of inorganic or non-protected minerals often fails to have the desired result and may even be detrimental to the cow.
There are various forms of organic or protected minerals available which can be used to overcome many of these mineral interaction problems. Protected trace elements are formed by chemically combining an inorganic mineral with an amino acid, protein or other organic compound to form a chelate, proteinate or complex, examples are: Optimins Copper, Zinc Bioplex, or Manganese Metalosate.
In the case of Alkosel and Sel-Plex, Selenium is incorporated into the protein of yeast cells. Alkosel and Sel-Plex are many times more effective than sodium selenite which is poorly retained in the body. Protected minerals are digested along with their carrier rather than as an inorganic salt.
Different protected sources vary markedly, some types being much more effective than others. Whilst protected minerals cost more than inorganic sources of mineral, protected minerals are far more effective. Additionally much lower levels are required, which avoids undesirable interactions caused by feeding high levels of inorganic minerals.
The RWN approach to Balancing Mineral Requirements
Richard Webster Nutrition specialises in the supply of custom mix minerals for high yielding dairy cows. We place great emphasis on specifically formulating our minerals to meet the nutritional requirements of individual dairy herds. Formulations are based on mineral levels shown by mineral forage assays together with mineral contribution from the rest of the diet. This is done using our own advanced computer software developed by Richard Webster specifically for UK conditions. This approach allows effective supplementation meeting the requirements of modern high yielding cows even in the presence of major trace element 'lock up' problems widely seen in the UK.
RWN has successfully overcome mineral associated problems on a wide range of dairy farms, as well as in most cases offering considerable cost savings.
Quality Minerals for Dairy Cows
When sourcing minerals we never compromise on quality. The quality of ingredients in a mineral can vary widely, with some sources having much higher levels of bio-availability than others. Research conducted indicates there are vast differences in chelation or bonding strength amongst various mineral sources. Some organic or protected mineral sources are not much better than inorganic sources.
RWN minerals use Optimins, Alkosel and Sel-Plex as our protected trace element sources. Optimins are more than 100 times more stable than many other protected minerals. Optimins are true chelates with multiple attachment points conferring superior protection. Optimins chelates resist pH degradation in the digestive tract ensuring much higher levels of effectiveness.
The use of Optimins chelates in a wide range of research trials with dairy cows have shown an average return on investment in excess of 10:1 when compared with standard inorganic trace elements. As well as being very cost effective skilled formulation of minerals using quality ingredients such as Optimins, Alkosel and Sel-Plex to meet the cows requirements offers many advantages over feeding a standard mineral supplement.
RWN Mineral Supplements
Many of our customers have been able to feed a lower rate of mineral after we have taken a forage mineral sample and optimised the required rate against the current ration. Use of better quality, more bio-available ingredients allows us to formulate a mineral to fully meet the cows requirements whilst feeding less mineral at a lower cost per cow. The main benefit to our customers are the better results achieved as a result of improved mineral coverage as shown in higher levels of output together with improved herd health and fertility.
Much improved overall mineral coverage at a lower cost per cow
We source our mineral supplements from 2 or 3 UK manufacturers, with whom we have long term supply arrangements, and where we can guarantee both quality and service. RWN Mineral Supplements are available both as 'In Feed' and as 'Free Access' powdered minerals as well as in free access molassed mineral buckets. We also supply a full range of straight minerals including rock salt, calcined magnesite, magnesium chloride, limestone flour, dicalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate and copper sulphate.
Minerals can have a profound effect on the Performance, Health and Fertility of both Dairy Cows and Dairy Heifer Replacements
RWN is one of the most competitively priced mineral companies in the UK so please ask for a quote today or contact Richard Webster for an in depth consultation.