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4 minute read

Zinpro Lifetime Performance® Improves Every Production Stage in Dairy Cattle

Dairy Lifetime Performance Icon
Dr. Jeff Weyers

Dairy Nutritionist
Zinpro Corporation

Click here to download this article as an infographic!

Feeding performance trace minerals is essential to maximizing the production performance of your dairy herd. To truly thrive, calves; heifers; and lactating, dry and transition cows must receive optimum trace mineral nutrition throughout each life stage.

Zinpro Lifetime Performance starts before birth, building a calf’s ability to mount a robust immune response. This will ultimately lead to better nutrient and energy utilization for growth, production and reproduction throughout the life of dairy cattle.

Improving A Calf’s Ability to Respond

Calves are born with limited immunity to disease. The first two weeks of life represent a high-risk period for calves, because their active immune system is not fully functional. Colostrum provides the calf with immunoglobulin (IgG) antibodies and other immune factors that are vital during the first few weeks of life.

During the first 12 to 24 hours after a calf is born, it is critical the cow transfers the maximum amount of immunoglobulin (IgG) to the calf through colostrum. Rich in antibodies and high in protein, colostrum provides nutrients that are essential to overall health, immunity and growth of the newborn calf. Increasing IgG levels in maternal colostrum through performance trace mineral supplementation aids in passive immunity to the newborn calf. Successful passive transfer of immunity through colostrum results in lower incidence of calf sickness and death.

Research shows that feeding performance trace minerals to cows throughout their lactation and dry periods increases IgG levels by 23.8 percent on average.

Image showing 23.8 percent increase in IgG

Reduce Milk Loss by Reducing Digital Dermatitis

Digital dermatitis in dairy cattle triggers an immune response that diverts nutrients away from milk production while also reducing feed intake. Research has shown that heifers with one digital dermatitis event produced 438 pounds (199 kg) less milk in their first lactation, while heifers with multiple digital dermatitis events produced 738 pounds (335 kg) less milk during their first lactation.

Other studies showed that feeding performance trace minerals like Availa®Plus, as a part of a well-fortified dairy nutrition plan, reduced incidence of digital dermatitis by 45 percent.

Image showing a 45 percent decrease in digital dermatitis

Managing Lameness in Dairy Cattle Improves Feed Efficiency and Milk Production

Performance trace minerals have positive effects in the small intestine, helping to increase absorptive surface and reduce leaky gut, along with improving mammary cell integrity during heat stress. Performance trace minerals also help with keratin formation, which strengthen epithelial tissue, promoting better hoof health. Improving epithelial tissue and hoof integrity reduces the immune system’s need for energy and nutrients, allowing more to be used for milk production. Research shows that feeding performance trace minerals results in a 34-percent decrease in white line separation and an 11-percent decrease in sole ulcers.

Image showing a 34 percent decrease in white line separation and an 11 percent decrease in sole ulcers

Animals that aren’t utilizing energy and nutrients for immune challenges, such as lameness or digital dermatitis, see an increase in feed efficiency. Research shows that feeding zinc from Availa®Zn at a level of 40 ppm increases feed efficiency by 9 percent.

Image showing a 9 percent increase in feed efficiency

Milk production can also be tied back to immunity. Research shows that feeding performance trace minerals results in 441 pounds (200 kg) more milk for first-lactation heifers and 604 pounds (275 kg) more milk per lactation in mature cows.

Image showing a 441 pound increase milk production for heifers and a 604 pound increase for cows

Performance Trace Minerals Improve Dairy Reproductive Performance

It is important for dairy producers to supplement dairy cattle nutrition with performance trace minerals during the dry period and prepartum period to improve reproductive performance. Research shows that performance trace minerals help cows return to ovarian function sooner, resulting in a 7 percent increase in pregnancy rates and a 13 fewer open days. Each open day can cost a dairy producer between $3 and $4.

Image showing a 7 percent increase in pregnancy and 13 fewer open days

Performance Trace Minerals for a Lifetime

Including Zinpro Performance Minerals in your dairy nutrition program benefits every life stage from birth to growth, to production through reproduction. Zinpro Performance Minerals, such as Availa®Dairy and Availa-Plus boast at least a 6-to-1 return on investment.

To learn more about improving dairy wellness and performance at every production stage, read about Zinpro Lifetime Performance®.

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Lameness can have a significant impact on dairy cattle reproductive performance. Detecting lameness early can help improve dairy cow reproduction and reduce the risk of culling. Learn about the many benefits of early lameness detection and find out how performance trace minerals play a part in managing lameness.

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