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5 minute read

Performance Trace Minerals Provide Beef Cattle with Lifetime Performance®

Beef Lifetime performance logo.
Dr. Jason Russell

Beef Nutritionist
Zinpro Corporation

Click here to download this article as an infographic!

There are many beef producers that do not supplement their cattle with performance trace minerals year-round and in every stage of production. To truly thrive, beef cattle must receive optimum trace mineral nutrition throughout each of their life stages.

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 beef cattle.    

Lifetime Performance: Birth to Weaning

It’s hard to get over a bad first impression, and a calf may never get over a bad start. Feeding performance trace minerals during a beef cow’s gestation period is crucial because colostrum and milk are poor sources of trace mineral nutrition for nursing calves. Research shows that including performance trace minerals, such as Availa®4, in beef cow nutrition during the last trimester helps provide the calf with essential trace minerals before it’s born, helping fortify the immune system. When fewer nutrients are needed to combat immune challenges, more nutrients can go towards growth, resulting in increased weaning weights.

Bar graph showing weaning weights by treatment.

Bringing weaned calves into a feedlot causes them stress that can result in an immune challenge, reduced feed intake and slower overall growth. A calf must be able to mount a robust response to an immune challenge in order to maintain feed intake and improve average daily gain. Calves fed Availa-4 during a 28-day feedlot receiving period had a 45 percent reduction in morbidity and a 9 to 13 percent increase in average daily gain. Calves that don’t get sick can allocate fewer nutrients and less energy toward an immune response and, instead, can utilize them for growth and production.

Graphic showing increase in average daily gain and decrease in morbidity.

Lifetime Performance: Production

Feedlot performance ties back to an animal’s ability to mount an effective immune response. If feedlot cattle aren’t utilizing nutrients and energy for immune responses, then they will be utilizing them toward muscle and fat development, which could ultimately be the difference between a prime versus a select grade. Additionally, a healthier animal will require less feed to fuel the same amount of growth. Feeding Availa-4 in the starter period and zinc from Availa®Zn in the finisher period improves average daily gain by nearly 6 percent and lowers the feed-to-gain ratio by 4 percent.

Bar graphs showing feedlot performance in pounds per day and feed to gain ratio.
Graphic showing increase in average daily gain and improvement in feed conversion.

Lameness in beef cattle, foot rot and other hoof problems also affect feedlot performance. Feeding performance trace minerals decreases the incidence of foot rot by 30 to 57 percent. Lameness and foot rot can trigger an immune response, which diverts nutrients away from production. Lame cattle are also less prone to walk to the feed bunk and will experience a decrease in feed intake.

Graphic showing a decrease in foot rot.

Lifetime Performance: Reproduction

Bulls need to be able to produce quality semen in ample quantities to improve the breeding rate. Semen that is malformed won’t be able to penetrate the oocyte, and if it is not motile, it will not be able to reach its destination. Bulls produce lower-quality semen during stress events, like heat stress in cattle, but feeding performance trace minerals can help bulls produce higher-quality semen despite a heat stress event. Feeding Availa-4 is shown to produce semen that is 9 percent more motile, 9 percent more progressive and 10 percent more rapid. 

Bar graph showing sperm characteristics.

Across five peer-reviewed studies, feeding performance trace minerals also helped improve beef cow conception and pregnancy rates by 26 percent. In another study, females that were fed performance trace minerals produced higher-quality oocytes, which led to higher-quality embryos.

Bar graphs showing culturable oocytes and transferrable embryos.

Performance Trace Minerals for a Lifetime

Including Zinpro Performance Minerals in your beef nutrition program benefits every life stage from birth to growth, to production and reproduction. Zinpro Performance Minerals, such as Availa-4, Availa-Plus and Availa-Zn can be included in the diet to boost performance and wellness throughout a beef animal’s life.

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

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The first 24 to 48 hours after weaning can be a stressful time for nursery pigs. In many cases, they will not consume any feed during this time. Supplementing swine nutrition and feeding programs by adding zinc from TruCare®LQ Zn to their drinking water can improve nursery pig growth and the pig immune system.

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