Agri-policy vacuum demands fine tuning for GB beef and sheep

For sheep and cattle vaccinations given in the next three months to be fully effective, farmers throughout GB are reminded that a well functioning immune system is essential. But if livestock’s trace element status is below par, even sub-clinically, this may not be achieved. That’s according to vet Elizabeth Berry from Animax.

She advises that all the trace elements are involved, each with a specific role. “But if just one is lacking, this can impact on immune function,” she cautions. “Many think only of selenium and its role in white blood cells and free radicals, but copper, cobalt and iodine also all have a role.”

Dr Berry reports that among a wide choice of supplementation methods, time-pressured farmers are opting for a 180-day ‘trickle charge‘ of micronutrients offered by Tracesure leaching bolus technology.

“Timing is flexible,” she says, “typically four to six weeks before lambing, calving or spring turnout, then repeated six months later.

“In this post-election agri-policy vacuum before a new Agriculture Bill is passed, getting sheep and cattle fine tuned for robust health, high growth rates and optimal forage efficiency make sound business sense.

“Clearly, this is something to cover when updating a farm’s animal health plan with your vet.”

Dr Berry also cautions that an important factor in maximum forage beef systems is how high digestibility grass, either grazed or conserved, can be up to 50% deficient in critical trace elements.

Leaching bolus technology is unique to Animax, whose regional livestock specialists are available for free advice.

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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.