With calving season getting closer, or already here for some, cattlemen may want to deploy strategies to ensure mineral nutrition does not rob them of potential profits. The value of a live calf is more than ever in the face of a shrunken and rebuilding cowherd.
As cows came through the chute this fall, administering a Selenium and Vitamin E supplement should have been recommended alongside your booster vaccinations (I like a killed vaccine in pregnant cows). Using a product such as MU-SE is very common along with an injectable Vitamin A&D. Administering a form of Se to cows will help avoid stiff joints in calves and retained placentas.
Using an injectable mineral supplement such as MultiMin 90 may prove viable to help deliver commonly deficient minerals like Se, Zn, Cu, and Mn. Utilizing an injectable supplement that contains chelates will help boost immunity and reduce problems with weak calves, retained placentas, and other calving time pitfalls.
Prior to breeding would be another time to look at injectable minerals. Many high-producing cows may need additional mineral supplementation prior to breeding. This is a time that additional dollars and focus on mineral supplementation can really pay. Getting cows bred back and doing so early in the breeding season has been one of the most-linked attributes to successful, profitable beef herds. Subtle mineral deficiencies may be robbing you of valuable pregnant cows.
If the ability to incorporate mineral supplement into a TMR or deliver it daily via top dress exists, I suggest looking at adding a source of chelated trace minerals. Chelated minerals are more readily absorbed by the animal and less likely to be interacted with during digestion. With even intake, this will accomplish similar goals to what was discussed in previous paragraphs.
I also believe that incorporating Rumensin into TMR rations for cows is beneficial. This will help cows maintain on less feed and as a result breed-back better. If you are adding a chelated trace pack, you should add Rumensin.
Keep mineral nutrition in mind as you head into calving season and then breeding. A small investment in mineral nutrition could correct calving and breeding troubles you have experienced in the past.