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Importance of trace mineral supplementation for the dry cow

Monday 28 November 2022
Oligovet Dry Cow bolus is a 90-day controlled-release bolus to be administered two months before calving to cover the cow through the dry cow transition, end of gestation, calving, and early lactation.
Trace mineral deficiencies are common across Ireland, with many pastures low in copper, iodine, selenium and manganese.
Deficiencies can occur due to low soil levels, leaching from rainfall or competition within the rumen among minerals such as high molybdenum blocking copper absorption and metabolism.
Performing a trace mineral forage analysis is a good step in evaluating for trace mineral deficiencies.
High trace mineral demands of the cow during lactation and pregnancy can also result in deficiencies.

Contact your Interchem territory manager for assistance with forage mineral analysis.
Trace mineral demands of the rapidly growing foetus will be pulled from the cow’s supply, so specialised supplementation during the critical dry period is essential:
  •  To support foetal growth and development and optimise vitality of the newborn calf;
  • To provide immunity support to the cow during the stressful period around calving;
  • To enhance udder development and health as she prepares for the new lactation period.

Mineral supplementation

Oral boluses are an ideal way to provide sustained and accurate dosing of trace minerals to a cow.
Unlike licks and water supplementation where the exact amount each cow receives is not controlled, a bolus allows a long-term, daily and accurate trace mineral supplementation with the ease of a single handling.

Oligovet boluses are scientifically developed to act like a sponge, with continued water flow through the porous bolus to provide controlled daily release of trace minerals.
Mineral sources are carefully selected for their ability to dissolve over the administration period with strong bioavailability. Extensive laboratory and in vivo testing have ensured the daily amounts of minerals listed on the label are provided to the cow.

Oligovet Dry Cow bolus mineral composition

Oligovet Dry Cow bolus delivers a high daily supply of active trace minerals including zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, iodine, cobalt and vitamins A and E, designed to support specific dry cow needs.

Vitamin E works with selenium to support immunity during the stressful transition period. Vitamin A promotes progesterone synthesis to help improve fertility rates and reduce early embryonic death.
According to an article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association by Khaled Gohary, both Vitamin A and E deficiencies are linked to retained foetal membranes, a common problem post-calving. Each case of retained membranes is estimated to cost the famer €320/cow from losses in milk yield, reduced fertility, and increased risk of infection.
The level of selenium fed to the dry cow has been shown to directly impact the quantity of IgG antibody content in the colostrum. This means providing optimal selenium to the cow in late gestation can improve antibodies in colostrum and reduce risks of failure of passive transfer in newborn calves. Quality colostrum is a key factor in improving calf vitality and ensuring a smooth calving season.

Improved somatic cell counts

High somatic cell counts result in losses to the farmer due to drops in milk yield associated with infection, veterinary and treatment costs, and penalties.
One study has showed that Oligovet Dry Cow bolus can result in cell count drops of 100,000-200,000 when administered to 50 dairy cows from the same herd, six to eight weeks before calving. This study was a field trial based on 50 cows, where Oligovet Dry Cow bolus was administered six to eight weeks before calving over a period from 2006 to 2008. Each quarter, the cell count was measured.

The somatic cell count improvement is the primarily the result of optimal trace mineral supplementation improving immunity. According to Glanbia, a cell count drop of 100,000-200,000 annually can translate to over €8,000 of savings for a the farmer with a 100-cow milking herd.
Providing optimal trace minerals to the dry cow can maximise immunity during the stressful transition period when she is most susceptible to the negative impacts of diseases including metritis, retained membranes and mastitis.
Trace mineral supplementation will optimise immunity to reduce the incidence of diseases, provide the cow with a good milk start in her early lactation and prepare her for her next reproductive cycle.

More information on mineral supplementation

Speak to your Interchem territory manager for assistance with forage mineral analysis and more information about how Oligovet Dry Cow bolus can improve your herd health this season.

T: +353 (0)1 451 8959     F: +353 (0)1 4512540

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