Making sure your cows have a mineral supplement that has adequate and balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus is crucial as gestation wraps up.
Cattle need calcium for skeletal growth and milk production. From mid to late pregnancy, a bred cow's requirement for calcium increases by 22 per cent and after calving, by an additional 40 per cent. A deficiency can lead to "milk fever" around the time of calving, particularly in high milk-producing beef breeds. A greater incidence of calving difficulty, retained placenta and prolapsed uterus may also occur.
Calcium interacts directly with phosphorus and Vitamin D. If dietary calcium levels are extremely high, phosphorus availability is reduced. Conversely, high levels of phosphorus impair calcium absorption. In addition, other complex macro and micro mineral interactions occur; high levels of phosphorus and magnesium reduce calcium absorption while high levels of calcium reduce the absorption of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and iodine.
Phosphorus has more known functions in the animal body than any other mineral. It is required for bone and tissue development, energy utilization and milk production. Phosphorus requirements increase by 12 per cent from mid pregnancy to the last month of gestation. After calving, phosphorus requirements increase by 50 per cent.
Phosphorus is commonly referred to as the "fertility" mineral. A deficiency can severely affect reproductive performance and may be expressed as delayed puberty (associated with poor appetite and growth rate) and increased number of services required per conception. Insufficient amounts of phosphorus in the ration results in reduced milk production and consequently lower calf weaning weights.
(SOURCE: Effects of Nutrition on Beef Cow Reproduction, Agri-facts November 2009, Government of Alberta)
Chelated trace minerals, minerals that are bound to a chelating agent such as an amino acid, increase absorption by not interfering with other minerals. This means your cattle will get the maximum absorption from their mineral at the most demanding time of the reproductive cycle. Start your cows 60 days out from calving on ProStock 1:1 Cow Calving Mineral, exclusive to UFA Co-operative Limited.