Minerals, which form an essential part of the health of your livestock, are divided into two groups, namely macrominerals and microminerals.
What are microminerals?
Microminerals, also referred to as trace minerals, are required in very small amounts in an animal’s diet and are therefore present in the body at very low levels. Microminerals include chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.
These microminerals play a pivotal role because they support the animal’s physiological systems, including its production, reproduction, and immune systems. Historically, free-roaming animals would have sourced the minerals they lacked from nature, but fenced-in animals need to be supplemented, especially if they are confined to cultivated, irrigated or fertilised pastures.
The most devastating economic impact of mineral deficiencies is reproductive failure, with mineral supplementation dramatically increasing fertility levels in grazing cattle. Livestock producers need to know the exact trace mineral status of their farms and how to supplement accordingly to avoid deficiencies.
A balanced diet normally provides all the essential minerals an animal may require, but due to declining levels of microminerals in the grass ingested daily, supplementation is the foremost choice to replenish these minerals.
Supplements can either be given orally, such as through the animal’s feed or dose, or via an injection. However, the goal of supplementing trace minerals in your livestock should be to optimise the trace mineral status and function, not to prevent deficiencies. This way, the full genetic potential of livestock can be realised.
It is also important to note that minor deficiencies can be present even if no overt clinical symptoms of deficiencies (or a deficiency) are seen. These subacute deficiencies are the most expensive and most difficult to manage because they often go unnoticed, although they can at times result in poor production and reproduction.
At farm level, the aim should be to effectively supplement trace elements through licks. It is also essential to administer an injectable trace element mixture containing significant quantities of the four key trace minerals for optimal resistance and breeding efficiency, namely zinc, manganese, selenium and copper – this injection needs to be administered prior to calving or lambing, mating, and adaptation in the feedlot.
Administering follow-up injections before critical periods will contribute greatly to combatting the factors leading to suboptimal trace mineral levels.
The Micromin range of products
MSD Animal Health has an injectable trace mineral supplement for cattle and sheep known as Micromin. Micromin contains chloride salts as opposed to phosphate salts, which promotes safety and decreases injection site reactions.
Micromin is intended as an injectable multi-mineral supplement for cattle and sheep for prevention, maintenance, or correction of diagnosed deficiencies of manganese, and/or copper, and/or chromium, and/or zinc, and/or selenium which may arise during critical phases of the production or breeding cycle.
The Micromin range consists of Micromin B for cattle, Micromin O for cattle and sheep and Micromin O Plus for cattle and sheep (which contains copper and is only available through a veterinarian). There is no withdrawal period for any of the
supplements in the Micromin range.
Chromium 5 mg/ml, copper 7,5 mg/ml, manganese 10 mg/ml, zinc 40 mg/ml, and selenium 5 mg/ml.
Micromin B is injected as a multi-mineral supplement for beef cattle as a preventative, maintenance or corrective dose for diagnosed deficiencies of manganese, and/or copper, and/or chromium, and/or zinc, and/or selenium which may arise during critical phases of the production or breeding life cycle.
1ml per 50 kg body mass for calves weighing less than 250 kg and 1 ml per 100 kg for cattle weighing more than 250 kg.