RWN Dairy Digest

Minerals in Dairy Cow Nutrition

Minerals, Trace Elements and Vitamins for the Dairy Cow

As genetics have improved and animal output has increased both in dairy cows and in replacement heifers, mineral requirements have become a neglected area of nutrition in the UK. Often supplementation has been given lip service, due to an over reliance on minerals supplied from compound feed which is increasingly fed as a lower proportion of the total diet. 

Minerals, trace elements and vitamins should be treated as an integral part of the total nutrition package of equal importance to energy, protein, starch and fibre

Mineral nutrition is essential to the health, well being, productivity, fertility and longevity of the modern dairy cow.

It matters not how much cake you throw at a cow, if she is mineral deficient she will not perform or thrive

Protected trace elements can have a major effect on lameness, somatic cell count, mastitis and general health of dairy cows.The introduction of new legal maximums for various micro nutrients, together with the search for greater efficiency and lower feed costs mean that it is no longer acceptable or economic to pay lip service to mineral nutrition by using cheap 'off the shelf' minerals without reference to actual requirements of the modern cow or to the individual farm situation. Nor is it wise to ignore the need to supplement cows at grass. Not surprisingly the same mineral deficiencies, which routinely occur in grass silage, also occur in grazed grass.

It is not at all uncommon to find minerals being fed which do not match farm requirements. Most deficiencies are in fact caused by trace element interactions, where over supply of one mineral nutrient results in a defficiency of another

There is absolutely no justification for use a product which doesn't meet the cows requirements or worse, may even be harmful, fed because it was cheap

Advanced Mineral Nutrition for Dairy Cows

Why not save money and improve performance and cow health by feeding minerals, vitamins and trace elements formulated to accurately balance the requirements of your cows rather than feeding a standard off the shelf mineral which may do very little to meet your cows requirements on your farm?

In the absence of other commercially available ration programs geared to balancing mineral requirements for dairy cows, RWN has developed it's own software to accurately formulate mineral supplements to meet individual farm requirements. The RWN Mineral Program takes full account of availability of minerals from different sources, background levels of nutrients supplied from straights, compounds and other feeds including the individual farms own forage. We are able to formulate to meet requirements for Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Sodium, Copper, Manganese, Cobalt, Zinc, Selenium, Iodine, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and other important nutrients. In addition and of particular importance to UK conditions we take account of the effect of antagonists and trace element lock up problems.

Protected or organic mineral trace elements are important for energy metabolism, fertility, lameness, somatic cell count, mastitis and general health of dairy cows.

The RWN Mineral Program has proved extremely successful in optimizing mineral and trace element supply on many farms, with considerable cost saving and major benefits in terms of performance and profitability

Not all minerals are equal. Dependent on the product our minerals and other supplements are manufactured by a number of  different specialist UK manufacturers. Our suppliers are selected on the basis of quality, consistency, technical expertise, service, reliability, trustworthiness, integrity as well on their ability to consistently offer value for money. We source our minerals to custom specifications to meet the requirements of individual farms. Quality of ingredients used in our minerals is paramount as is the effort that we take to formulate the mineral to meet the requirements of each individual farm.

When formulating a mineral for an individual farm we will use the most appropriate and highest quality ingredients to give the biggest effect, for the lowest feed rate and to give the most cost effective result for the farmer. This is in stark contrast to situations where an off the shelf mineral is purchased, often at a relatively high price for the spec, and may not be even close to the cows requirement, or where a mineral which has been badly formulated with minimal attention to what is actually being fed on the farm, is then put out to tender and least cost formulated using inferior raw materials and doesn't under performs on farm.

Protected, Organic and Chelated Minerals

Protected or organic mineral trace elements are important for energy metabolism, fertility, lameness, somatic cell count, mastitis and general health of dairy cows.A good example of differences between minerals would be with protected Copper, Zinc and Manganese. Different protected sources vary markedly, some types being much more effective than others. Protected minerals cost much more than inorganic sources of mineral, but equally protected minerals are much more effective.

There are many types of protected minerals. Some are far more effective than others, and some protected trace elemets are much cheaper than others. Generally we use high quality protected trace element sources including, Optimins, Glycinates, Bioplex, MAAC, Alkosel and Selplex. Protected organic mineral chelates sources have clear advantages when dealing with the widespread mineral lock up problems seen in the UK.

Selenium is essential for energy metabolism, immune function, fertility and many metabolic pathways.Where protected or organic selenium is required we use Selplex or Alkasel. There are cheaper alternatives but the effectiveness of these organic selenium sources is well proven and backed by a great deal of research.

RWN are specialists in formulating Minerals for dairy farms with many years experience. We do not rely on inexperienced outside formulators who often have little or no knowledge of the individual farm situation.

Now is an ideal time to review your long-term future feeding strategy. Investing in sound nutrition now will increase future milk yields and profitability

For more information or for an in depth consultation contact Richard Webster.

Independent Suppliers of Quality Feeds and Associated Products
for the High Yielding Dairy Cow

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