Trace Element Deficiency in Livestock

Many clients have been experiencing trace element deficiency within livestock recently. Copper, cobalt, selenium and iodine are essential trace elements required by cattle and sheep.

Clay soils generally have higher trace element levels than sandy soils. Soil testing may reveal deficiencies but should only be used as a guide when considering the trace element status for livestock. Herbage analysis can also be misleading and therefore the most accurate diagnosis is from blood and tissue tests.

If your herd or flock is not performing sufficiently or animals are being grazed on different pastures from normal for a length of time, it certainly would be worth carrying out some blood tests to analyse trace element levels. The cost is low compared to poor performance or losing stock.

If you have not carried out any blood tests in the past, a one-off test of a group of poorer animals combined into one test could be a very cheap and cost-effective method to maximise performance on farm and prevent further challenges such as a higher worm burden and other health issues due to the animal lacking in essential trace elements. If there is a requirement for treatment to overcome the problem there are many options such as feed, drenches, injections and boluses, which help to improve the animal’s health and performance.

Contact George at georgedrewett@fcgagric.com , or your local FCG Office to discuss this further.

Posted in Beef, Business Management, Chippenham, Dairy & Forage, Sheep.