The importance of nutritional supplements for farming livestock
Vitamin, mineral and trace elements are a key concern at all stages of farm animals’ life cycle. Trace elements play a vital role in the productivity, fertility and thrive in sheep and both beef and dairy cattle.
This can be especially the case as many farmers move to a largely grass-fed diet to improve cost efficiencies, because many concentrates are often fortified with trace elements.
Some of the key minerals and trace elements that farmers are generally well able to recognise the importance of are copper (Cu), cobalt (CO), selenium (Se) and Iodine (I).
Some identifiable signs are a loss of hair around the eyes and back, discolouration of the coat, ill-thrift, in-fertility, swelling of the joints, scour, poor conversion and growth below their genetic potential.
Often, problems could arise when animals are lacking some of these elements but are not showing observable signs and this can result in reduced productivity or conversion rates in both cattle and sheep, ultimately leading to increased costs to the farmer.
‘A great boost’
Patrick Shalvey from Drumgoon, Co. Cavan, recognised the benefits of dosing milking cows that aren’t thriving with Growvite Forte, by treating them on an individual basis.
He mentioned that “he gives them [milking cows] a shot of Growvite shortly after calving” because it “gives the cows a great boost”.
Livestock are also more vulnerable at certain stages of growth or as a result of their specific diets; for example, lambs, calves and ewes or cows that are pregnant or during the lactating cycle. Cattle and sheep on poor quality pasture or grazing at high stocking rates.
The Coen family located in Hollymount, Co. Mayo, run a mixed heard of suckler cows and breed both commercial and pedigree Texel ewes.
They record performance data of their sheep through the year and recognised that Growvite makes a “big difference”.
“After using Growvite Sheep we get a boost in weight and average daily gains in our lambs and it has helped them develop in good condition,” stated the Coen family.
Univet’s Growvite range supplies chelated minerals, vitamins and trace elements essential for thrive.
Growvite’s unique blend is ideal for critical stages in the animal’s life cycle when they are growing and developing, such as cows/ewes during gestation or during the lactation cycle. Lambs and calves (>3 weeks) should be dosed with Growvite to improve thrive and performance in growing animals.
Trial results on sheep conducted by the University of Wales showed that after the application of Growvite, lambs born alive increased by 22%; ewes were in better body condition; and a 50% decrease in barrenness. Trial results are available on request.
Growvite can be administered orally, added in milk or be given through feed. It is best to be dosed on a routine basis to ensure livestock are healthy and thriving.