The genetic potential of dairy cows has improved significantly in recent years and performance expectations have therefore become even higher, with cows achieving ever greater milk production.

As we strive to continuously improve, we inadvertently put their biological systems under pressure, which can lead to increased health issues and decreased longevity.

To sustain this higher performance and optimize herd efficiency while ensuring the health and well-being of the cow, nutrition and management need to evolve accordingly.

Mineral nutrition

One key area of research focus has been on the role trace mineral nutrition can play in supporting dairy cows to ensure they perform at their peak, and to manage the additional metabolic stress to keep them productive, profitable and achieve their genetic potential.

For more than 50 years, Zinpro Corporation has pioneered the research and development of performance trace minerals and innovative solutions to support dairy producers in their everyday challenges.

Through unique patented technologies, the Availa performance minerals range is specifically designed to optimize the delivery of trace minerals into the body of the dairy cow where they are needed.

The form of mineral supplementation is important. Cows need trace minerals which remain active in the gut and can be absorbed more effectively, meaning they are able to participate in metabolic functions and help cows perform to their potential.

A large proportion of inorganic minerals in the diet, and some low-quality organic trace minerals, get inactivated in the gut, are not absorbed to make them available to the animal and are just excreted.

It is therefore essential to ensure minerals are highly metabolically available to the animal. Zinpro Performance Minerals, where the metal is structurally bonded to certain amino acids, are uniquely and more efficiently absorbed through ‘amino acid transporters’ in the gut.

The way these minerals are absorbed, combined with the fact that they are not degraded in the stomach, means more of the mineral is available to the animal.

Once the minerals are absorbed into the blood stream, they are metabolized differently from other metal sources, allowing the cow to utilize the trace minerals more effectively.

Jonathan Huxtable

Zinc, manganese and copper, for example, are used in normal bodily functions, broadly ranging from supporting the immune system, increasing the keratin quality of the hoof horn, maintaining good udder health, and improving oocyte quality, helping cattle not only to get pregnant, but bring a calf to full term.

If any trace mineral is deficient, then performance and margins will suffer.

Delivering effective mineral supplementation will help ensure first-calved cows settle into production well, will ensure cows transition successfully and so increase herd longevity – all of which will improve profitability and help drive down the carbon footprint of the herd.

By Jonathan Huxtable, ruminant country manager – UK, Ireland and Finland, Zinpro Corporation

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