Mineral Deficiency in the Cattle

During our first TB test the vet noticed the cattle were slow to lose their winter coats and had a few pale patches. He suggested we had them tested for mineral deficiencies.  We were surprised to find they were all short in copper, cobalt, selenium and iodine.  This apparently is quite common in this coastal area and is due to the type of pasture and soil, these elements are all essential for livestock and deficiencies can cause serious problems such as poor growth, infertility, late abortions, weak calves and lambs.

Both the cattle and sheep already had mineral licks available but it appeared these were not solving the problem.  We then tried a system called ‘AquaTrace’ which involved putting pellets into the water trough.  We tried this for about a year and then had them retested,this was not working.  We are now giving the cattle a slow dissolving bolus containing minerals and vitamins every 6 months, they have now just had their second one and we will blood testing them again in the New Year to check the levels.



The bolus cartridges look enormous but they drop straight into the first part of the stomach (reticulum) using the bolus gun and dissolve gradually over a period of about 6 months, releasing the mineral supplement.  Tim the bull was a challenge because he is tall and David’s little legs are short!!