Blue Salt and Cat­tle?

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS - TRAVISPEAR­DON RE­GIONAL LIVE­STOCK SPE­CIAL­IST For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Travis Pear­don, Re­gional Live­stock Spe­cial­ist at (306) 867-5504.

Does your sum­mer min­eral pro­gram con­sist of only blue salt blocks? If so, you could be set­ting your­self up for a wreck. While cat­tle do have a need for sodium, io­dine and cobalt which are found in blue salt blocks they con­tain no other trace min­er­als. The trace min­er­als that are of par­tic­u­lar con­cern in Saskatchew­an that are not in blue salt blocks are cop­per, zinc, man­ganese, and se­le­nium. Th­ese trace min­er­als are es­sen­tial to main­tain an­i­mal health, pro­duc­tion and re­pro­duc­tion. When not present in suf­fi­cient quan­ti­ties, th­ese trace min­er­als can cause se­vere bi­o­log­i­cal prob­lems for the an­i­mal and eco­nomic losses for the pro­ducer.

Cop­per de­fi­ciency in live­stock can re­sult from low di­etary cop­per lev­els, high lev­els of the min­eral molyb­de­num, high lev­els of iron and/or high lev­els of sul­phates in drink­ing wa­ter or in the feed. The ma­jor­ity of for­ages grown in Saskatchew­an are de­fi­cient in cop­per. De­fi­ciency symp­toms in­clude ane­mia, loss of color in the hair coat, di­ges­tive up­set and poor an­i­mal per­for­mance (growth, lac­ta­tion and/or re­pro­duc­tion). Young an­i­mals and high per­for­mance an­i­mals are par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to cop­per de­fi­ciency. Young calves may ex­press cop­per de­fi­ciency as lame­ness and/or dis­play bone swellings above the joints. Other symp­toms may in­clude an ap­par­ent loss or re­duc­tion in im­mu­nity to par­a­sites (i.e. lice and coc­cid­io­sis). Zinc de­fi­ciency in live­stock is man­i­fested by re­duced growth rate, re­duced fer­til­ity, para ker­ato­sis (thick­en­ing and scal­ing of skin cells), loss of hair, der­mati­tis (in­flam­ma­tion of the skin), and an in­creased sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to foot rot and other foot in­fec­tions. Man­ganese de­fi­ciency in live­stock im­pairs re­pro­duc­tive per­for­mance (de­layed cycling, silent heats and re­duced con­cep­tion rates), skele­tal de­for­mi­ties and con­tracted (short­ened) ten­dons in new born calves, en­larged joints and re­duced birth weight.

Se­le­nium de­fi­ciency is most com­monly ex­pressed as white mus­cle dis­ease, but also re­sults in re­duced dis­ease re­sis­tance, re­tained pla­centa and weak or dead calves. De­fi­ciency symp­toms are com­monly ex­pressed in calves that tend to “lie around”, may lack an ag­gres­sive suck­ling abil­ity, and/or are chron­i­cally stiff.

Vi­ta­min E me­tab­o­lism is sim­i­lar to se­le­nium and de­fi­cien­cies can be ex­pressed as hav­ing the same symp­toms as se­le­nium de­fi­ciency.

Min­eral sup­ple­ments are for­mu­lated to pro­vide ad­e­quate in­takes of min­er­als when fed at the rate rec­om­mended by the min­eral man­u­fac­turer. The feed rate varies de­pend­ing on the sup­ple­ment for­mu­la­tion, but is gen­er­ally in the range of 45 - 70 gm (1.5 - 2.5 oz.) per head/day.

Un­der Saskatchew­an con­di­tions, many trace min­eral sup­ple­ments are for­mu­lated within the fol­low­ing lev­els to pro­vide an over­all ad­e­quate in­take of trace min­er­als. Cop­per 2,500-4,000 mg/kg of min­eral or for­ti­fied salt Zinc 8,000-12,000 mg/kg of min­eral or for­ti­fied salt Man­ganese 7,500-10,000 mg/kg of min­eral or for­ti­fied salt Cobalt 40-60 mg/kg of min­eral or for­ti­fied salt; Io­dine 100-200 mg/kg of min­eral or for­ti­fied salt Se­le­nium 25-120 mg/kg of min­eral or for­ti­fied salt

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