Address trace element needs during the lambing season

The lambing season offers an ideal window to carry out routine management practices that improve animal health for the year ahead and farmers should take this opportunity to supply the necessary trace elements to their flocks.

“No farmer wants to go into the Spring with sheep losing weight and having a weakened immune system,” said Dr Elizabeth Berry BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, Animax Company veterinary director. “I cannot stress enough the need to address the flocks trace element needs and to ensure that they are provided.

“I want to emphasise the vital importance of trace elements for animal performance – an area sometimes overlooked, particularly at busy times of the year. Trace elements are essential for cell metabolism and many other body functions, including energy production, growth, reproduction and the nervous system – so have a major impact on animal performance.

“Consider your options – the most effective, and labour saving, product is a leaching bolus – which offers up to 6 months supplementation. This is particularly useful if sheep are grazed on fells, or away from the farm or adequate handling facilities. It provides a slow release, consistent supply of trace elements, and is the optimal size to ensure retention. This gives you peace of mind that the product is doing its job – it eliminates uncertainty.

“Also, by balancing the diet correctly, you maximise the benefits of home grown forages or grass, and so the efficiency of your nutrition is increased. It reduces the cost of concentrates, or supplementary feeds, by ensuring that forage or grass is utilised much more effectively.

“By using a leaching bolus pre-lambing, the ewe is prepared for the demands of lambing and in better condition for milk supply. The benefits are passed from ewe to lamb so you will be giving the lambs the best start you can – which will be evident in their growth rates and vigour.

“One major advantage of a leaching bolus is that the rate of release is regulated only by the rate of water infiltration, and so does not vary between different animals. This is important as farmers aim to produce consistent animals, and the leaching technology is a tool which helps to deliver uniform stock.

“With the modern demands of sheep farming, we need to focus on ways to work smarter and embrace labour-savingtechnology that provides best practice for our flocks. Products that offer effective, labour saving benefits and support animal performance should be adopted within farm management plans,” she added.

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.