A suckler beef producer has removed dry cow minerals from his system after an issue with retained cleansings cleared up after using slow release trace element bolus in his herd.
Victor Chestnutt farms at Clougher Farm, Bushmills, County Antrim, with his son, David. The land at Clougher Farm is exceptionally low in selenium so, to correct the imbalance, the Chestnutts bolused the cattle with Tracesure ®Cu/I from Animax. This bolus contains high levels of selenium together with iodine, copper and cobalt.
The suckler cows, a mixture of Charolais, Aberdeen Angus, Belgian Blue and Limousin, are bolused two months before calving. They are given a double dose because they are over 550kg.
“You need calving to go right. I think if the cow is properly fed and has the correct mineral status you won’t have many problems at calving,” said Victor.
“When you get a system that works you stick with it. We used to feed a lot of dry cow minerals but we no longer do that, we rely totally on the bolus to give the necessary trace elements.”
For brothers Austin and James Morgan, who run a suckler herd at 34 Glen Road, Jerrettspass, Newry, tightening the calving pattern was a priority when they started bolusing their beef herd.
They had not been aware of a trace element shortfall until they lost a calf to white muscle disease, the result of a selenium deficiency. This probably also explained the fertility challenges the herd was experiencing.
“I had a problem with cows cycling and getting back into calf. There were 20 cows stretching out over 12 to 15 weeks,” says Austin.
“Since using Tracesure ®Cu/I all 40 cows get in calf within six weeks. It’s fantastic, a very good result.
“The cows are also cleansing well, they are not holding onto their afterbirth and are cycling very quickly after they have calved.
“Generally, the cows’ health has got a lot better since we started using Tracesure ®Cu/I. We have less vet bills for fertility issues and the cows don’t get any mineral meal, even when they are put out to grass. All they get is a magnesium booster.”