This technical article looks at mineral supplementation.

Why feed minerals?

The main focus within dairy cow nutrition is generally on energy and protein levels in the diet to achieve satisfactory performance levels. Yet mineral supplementation is essential for most high yielding dairy cows as they will generally not get sufficient levels of minerals from their diet, so mineral status must not be ignored.

Minerals are inorganic elements that are required for proper physiological function. They are utilised in basic metabolic activity and also play an essential role in nerve function, hormone synthesis, enzyme production and cell synthesis. As such they are essential for growth, fertility and milk production.

The exact level of mineral supplementation will depend upon many factors including land type, diet formulation, cow breed and stage of lactation.

What are the issues associated with mineral deficiency?

Because of the huge range of minerals that are required by the cow it is difficult to be specific about the impact of general mineral deficiency. Indeed, minerals interact with each other, and excessive amounts of one mineral can lead to apparent deficiencies of another, even if supplementation levels in the diet appear adequate at face value.

Generally, mineral deficiency will result in animal health, production and fertility issues that cannot be explained through an alternative cause. Many mineral deficiencies can take a long time to become apparent and may cause a ‘sub clinical’ impact on production, fertility or health problems such as mastitis and lameness that is hard to trace.

It is also worth noting that excessive levels of mineral supplementation can result in mineral toxicity, something that can have serious consequences including death in extreme circumstances.

As a result it is recommended that mineral supplementation is always implemented in accordance with the recommendation of an experience ruminant nutritionist.

Not all minerals are the same…

The limits of variation permitted by the Feeding Stuffs Regulations for certain micro-nutrients are very wide where declared (or nonexistent if not declared), as shown below:

Limits of variation, in case of deficiency, of the amount declared by the manufacturer
Cobalt30% (for declaration above 200 mg/kg)
Iodine, Manganese, Zinc, Selenium50%
Vitamins A & E
  1. 50% for declarations < 4,000 IU/kg
  2. 30% for declarations > 4,001 IU/kg

As such it is possible for there to be huge variations between the declared level of mineral content and the actual inclusion. It is important to avoid buying cheap, low inclusion minerals if you are aiming for high performance as you may not get what you think!

The specifications used for Advance minerals are based on the latest science and research from around the world combined with forage mineral analysis results we have collated from Kite’s clients’ farms in the UK. The specifications are put out to tender to provide high quality minerals for the best value for money and then we test them to make sure that they meet declared levels by collecting random samples for independent laboratory analysis.

Performance minerals

Advance Milking Cow performance minerals provide the best possible mineral supplementation. We use a unique patented mineral-amino acid bonding technology to bond parts of the copper, zinc and manganese to single amino acids. This allows more than 90% rumen protection, ensuring that the mineral is effectively transported through the rumen and into the blood stream of the cow.

Comprehensive, independent, peer-reviewed trials have shown that this has four key benefits – helping fertility, udder health, milk yield and feet. Results have shown that cows come on heat quicker and get into calf earlier, translating into a higher proportion of the herd being pregnant at 150 days. On average, trial results have shown cows getting pregnant 13 days earlier than those fed on other minerals!

Trials also typically show a milk yield increase (average 1.1 litres/day) and an average somatic cell count reduction of 50,000/ml.

When it comes to foot health, no one feed ingredient can eliminate foot problems but the combination of specific protected minerals in Advance Milking Cow performance minerals helps strengthen the structure of the foot.

This has been shown to decrease the incidence of double soling, white line separation, sole haemorrhages and sole ulcers combined with a decrease in the incidence and severity of claw lesions.

The advantages of feeding Advance Milking Cow performance minerals are:

  • Increased milk yield
  • Improved udder health
  • Improved fertility
  • Better feet

This can lead to potential benefits of as much as £80/cow/year!

More information…

To order Advance performance minerals please contact us