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5 minute read

Performance Trace Minerals: Our Beef Cattle Nutrition Commitment

Lone weaned calf, up close.
Dr. Chris Ashworth, DVM

Global RNS Species Leader – Beef
Zinpro Corporation

Since 1971, Zinpro has focused on one thing: performance trace mineral nutrition for the livestock industry. During this time Zinpro has conducted more than 40 peer-reviewed research studies in beef cattle related to immunity, reproduction, feed efficiency, feed intake and hoof health. These research studies demonstrate how performance trace minerals help enhance the performance and wellness of beef cattle in feedlot, cow/calf and backgrounder operations.

Our first beef cattle discovery occurred around 1980 when research demonstrated the important role ZINPRO® zinc methionine plays in helping to prevent foot rot in cattle. This research showed that beef cattle nutrition programs containing performance trace minerals decrease the incidence of foot rot by 30 to 57 percent.

In the mid-1990s, Zinpro introduced the Illustrated Handbook on Cattle Lameness, a book co-developed with Dr. Paul Greenough from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. The book outlines basic anatomy and different claw lesions including risk factors, treatment and control information and recommendations. This book provides exposure for Zinpro around the globe in the area of cattle lameness.

In 1996, Zinpro’s 25th year of business, the Availa®Mins product line was launched. This included two key performance trace mineral nutrition solutions for the beef cattle industry:

  • Availa®4 which research has shown helps improve the beef cow herd through improved reproduction, milk production and colostrum quality in cows, greater weaning weights and decreased treatment rates for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in calves, improved growth, ovulation and conception rates in heifers, and enhance semen quality and improved foot health in bulls.
  • Availa®Zn which research has shown helps improve gut health (intestinal epithelium integrity), increase average daily gain (ADG), improve feed conversion, as well as decrease foot and hoof problems in feedlot cattle.

In 2013, Zinpro introduced Availa®Plus, which represents an entirely new approach to foot health management. When fed as part of a specific DD Formula, research has shown that feeding Availa-Plus as part of a well-fortified diet offers a novel nutritional solution for cattle operations to help provide protection against digital dermatitis (also known as hairy heel warts).

More recently, a research study at Oregon State University shows that supplementing gestating beef cow diets with performance trace minerals from Availa-4 increased calf weaning weight by 53 pounds vs. no supplementation. Those calves also had a 22 percent decrease in BRD treatments.

Whether you are a cow/calf producer, backgrounder or feedlot operator, performance trace minerals can help enhance pregnancy rates and feed efficiency, reduce the incidence of BRD and lameness, as well as increase calf weaning weights.

Beef Cattle Reproduction

Cows are a profit center. A beef cattle nutrition program containing performance trace minerals helps cows prepare for, and recover from production stresses during gestation, calving, lactation and provides for a shorter calving interval. In addition, performance trace minerals can enhance the immunoglobulin levels in colostrum, ensuring that calves receive a great start to life and are able to develop more quickly to provide more marketable weight.

Weaning Program Success

Weaned calves need the ability to handle stress, respond effectively to vaccines and perform in the feedlot after leaving the ranch. Performance trace mineral research shows that calves in pre-conditioning and weaning programs benefit from performance trace minerals nutrition with improved response to vaccines, minimized effects of stress and lower treatment rates for bovine respiratory diseases

Delivering a Strong Finish

Including performance trace minerals in the beef cattle nutrition plan also provides the opportunity to impact overall performance and profitability of cattle in feedlots. An imbalance or deficiency of necessary trace minerals can strain an animal’s immune system causing chronic inflammation, hindering feed efficiency and weight gain, and preventing the animal from achieving its full growth potential. Research shows that feeding performance trace minerals to feedlot cattle results in:

  • Increased Average Daily Gain (ADG)
  • Improved feed conversion
  • Decreased foot and hoof problems

Lameness in Cattle

Zinpro’s commitment to the beef cattle industry doesn’t stop at performance trace minerals. Lameness in the feed yard plays a critical role in overall animal wellness, as well as profitability. That’s why, in 2013, Zinpro introduced the Step-Up® Management program to the beef industry in conjunction with the Beef Cattle Institute and Kansas State University. The Step-Up Management program helps decrease the prevalence of lameness in feedlot cattle through the identification, diagnosis and treatment of lameness. It provides a systematic approach to identify and manage beef cattle lameness.

In recent years, Zinpro has also led efforts to develop Cattle Lameness: Identification, Prevention and Control of Claw Lesions. The 80-page book contains hundreds of new photos and dozens of original illustrations and schematics to help understand how and why lameness occurs, and it explains what can be done to prevent and control lameness.

For almost 50 years, Zinpro has been helping beef producers enhance the wellness and performance of their cattle. We continue to make investments in performance trace mineral research to help beef producers address common production challenges like heat stress management, gut integrity, foot and hoof problems, bovine respiratory disease, and reproduction in cows and bulls.

To learn more about how to include performance trace minerals in your beef cattle nutrition program, contact a Zinpro representative today.

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Bulls may only account for 5% of your beef herd, but they account for 50% of the breeding equation and need special attention during the offseason. Discover how supplementing performance trace minerals can reduce cattle hoof problems and improve beef cattle reproduction.

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Dehydration Causes and Symptoms on Your Livestock Operation

Water accounts for 98 percent of all molecules in the body and between 50 and 81 percent of an animal’s total body weight at maturity. When an animal becomes dehydrated, it can create costly production challenges on your livestock or poultry operation.

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Performance Trace Mineral Supplementation Improves Calf Weaning

Many beef cattle producers consider performance trace minerals to be a breeding mineral, but year-round supplementation is crucial for optimal performance throughout an animal’s life. Learn how feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals® prior to weaning improves feed intake and kickstarts feedlot performance.

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