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We are located at Egg Lagoon on the north of King Island where we have three different soil types; some heavier country, some semi-coastal lighter country and some sand dune country on the West coast. King Island is known to be deficient in Copper, B12, Selenium and Zinc.
With the guidance of Multimin mentor Dr Craig Dywer from Smithton Veterinary Service, we looked at lifting calf survivability and conception rate in my oldest herd of cows to see what effect Multimin may have. Generally we don’t have too many problems with pregnancy rates in our cows, however 2017’s rate was down on previous years and this may have been to do with the mineral program prior to calving.
The biggest benefit I found was outside of what we were looking for which was the health of my calves. When the calves received Multimin at calf marking and then again at the second 7 in 1 vaccine along with their mum’s receiving Multimin, their health has been outstanding. In a dry and dusty summer, in a mob of 200 weaners there is only one animal that had pink eye. This is a great result from the use of Multimin in lifting the calves health and immunity. I’ve learnt a lot throughout the Multimin Challenge about the use of Multimin to boost productivity at critical times of the year.
Trace minerals are essential for healthy cattle, and we know that during high-demand periods such as joining, weaning and calving, animals have higher requirements for certain trace minerals.
Copper, selenium, zinc and manganese offer vital support for normal body and reproductive development, proper functioning of the immune system, greater disease resilience and future fertility prospects. Essentially, the trace minerals in Multimin work to decrease the impact of free-radicals, while also delivering key nutrients.
This has been a great opportunity for me to learn more about mineral treatment for cattle and I will be using these findings to help me perfect our mineral program to fully optimise Tasmania’s cattle’s performance.
We split my herd into two groups to assess improvements in conception rates and timings, as well as marking rates – all important markers of fertility and herd profitability. The trial began 30 days before calving when we treated Group 1 (175 cows) with 7 in 1 and Pestivirus vaccine, and Group 2 (175 cows) with 7 in 1, Pestivirus vaccine, Multimin and B12.
Group 2 (Multimin treated animals) then received a second dose of Multimin 30 days before joining, in October. By February the following year, Richard was able to determine the benefits of Multimin by comparing pregnancy test results in treated versus non-treated animals. Conception rates, including the oestrus cycle in which each cow conceived was also recorded.
“My early observation was that the Multimin-treated cows were dropping calves with an amazing coat colour, unlike the untreated cows who had more of a dull, rough coat.”
We are confident with the results we saw in our treated cows and will continue to use Multimin.
Although the Multimin treated group had higher liver selenium levels than the untreated group once liver results were analysed, they are still considered to be very low in selenium. To further improve our herd’s selenium status which is indeed very unique to King Island’s highly deficient soil, additional Multimin treatments closer together may be recommended which would be safe as evident from liver results. Alternatives would also include additional selenium containing products such as continuous oral supplements or other injectable selenium approximately 2 months after Multimin is given. Selpor is a convenient selenium pour-on product, which is also effective in quickly elevating selenium levels.