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3 minute read

Trace Mineral Research Shows Benefits for Gestating Cows

Lone cow in pasture
Dr. Jason Russell

Beef Nutritionist
Zinpro Corporation

A research study at Oregon State University shows that supplementing gestating beef cows diets with the performance trace minerals contained in Availa®4 can significantly enhance calf weaning weights while decreasing the prevalence of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) during the feedlot growing phase.

Trace Mineral and Cow Gestation Research Overview

Zinpro Corporation partnered with Oregon State University to conduct a study that included 84 crossbred (Angus X Hereford) cows in the final trimester (last 94 days) of gestation. Cows were weighed, scored for body condition and evenly separated into 21 dry lot pens. The cows were all fed a forage-based diet formulated to meet requirements for energy, protein, macro minerals, selenium, iodine and vitamins.

Pens were assigned to one of three trace mineral treatments:

  • Control: no supplemental zinc, manganese, copper or cobalt added to the diet
  • Inorganic: diet supplemented with zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt from sulfates
  • Zinpro Performance Minerals® (ZPM): diet supplemented with 7 grams per head per day of zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt from Availa-4.

Note: The same amount of trace minerals was added to feed in the inorganic and ZPM treatments (360 mg Zn, 200 mg Mn, 125 mg Cu and 12.5 mg Co); only the source of trace mineral differed between treatments.

Availa-4 Helps Manage Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD)

Study results included improvements in weaning weight and at every subsequent weight, including hot carcass weight after harvest.

  • Calves born to cows fed Availa-4 had a 53-pound (24-kg) weaning weight advantage compared to those born to cows with no supplementation, and a 28-pound (13-kg) weight advantage compared to calves born to cows supplemented with inorganic trace minerals.
  • Calves born to cows fed Availa-4 also maintained this weight advantage through harvest with a 42-pound (19-kg) carcass weight advantage compared to those born to cows with no supplementation, and a 22-pound (10-kg) advantage to those born to cows supplemented with inorganic trace minerals.

Bar graph showing trace mineral impact on weaning weight.

Calves from cows fed with Availa-4 also had a significant reduction in Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) treatment rates in the feedlot growing phase of the study.

  • Twenty percent of the calves from cows fed Availa-4 were treated for BRD, compared to 42 percent of calves from cows with no supplementation and 59 percent of calves from cows fed inorganic trace minerals. It should be noted that treatment rates for control and inorganic treatments were not significantly different.
  • The reduction in BRD incidents reduces not only treatment cost for the producer but also labor and certainly minimizes stress on the animals.

Bar graph showing BRD treatment percentages.

The study was conducted as part of Zinpro’s Generational Nutrition® program which highlights how feeding performance trace minerals to gestating cows helps improve the wellness and performance of their offspring. Availa-4 is a unique combination of zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt that is research-proven to deliver strong performance benefits to the beef cow herd and a strong economic return to the cow/calf producer.

To learn more about the research-proven benefits of feeding Availa-4 to beef cows as part of the Generational Nutrition Program, download this Availa-4 research report or contact your Zinpro representative. To discover additional highlights from this research, download our Feeding the Beef Cow Availa-4 Improves Productivity and Economic Returns of the Calf research summary.