Getting the timing of trace elements right in your calf

In New Zealand (NZ) we often have deficiencies of key trace elements in the soil, which can result in deficiencies in cattle.

These trace elements are essential for normal growth, fertility and immune function. But what many people may not know is that the cow (or heifer), actually transfers trace elements to the calf via the placenta and in the colostrum. If we have cows that are deficient in these trace elements, the calves may not receive what they need to thrive and grow.

NZ studies have shown that calves treated with a mineral injection (Multimin® had a very significant reduction in sickness and death rates due to scours, navel infection and other diseases within three days post injection. But supplementing with trace elements is not a replacement for good management practices. It is important to still get the basics right; gold colostrum, feeding calves correcting, navel spraying and general calf care.

So, interested in trying this on your calves? The best time to inject calves with Multimin® is on the first day they arrive at the shed. This will be when the calf is one to two days of age. If you buy in calves, injecting them when you receive them at four days also works well. The cost for this is around 89 cents* excluding GST, per calf. It is also recommended to inject the calves again at weaning. It is estimated to have a return on investment of 3:1. Talk to your key vet or techs if you have any questions around this product.

It is also a very handy product for your cows as well. NZ research has shown reductions in mastitis in the first month after calving when given pre calving. Studies have shown a reduction of 25% for subclinical mastitis and a reduction of 52% in clinic mastitis over this time period. When it was given premating cows had a lower empty rate by 3%.

This product is backed by research, but we have also heard great things from local dairy clients when they have added this to their treatment regimen.

*price as of August 2023 and subject to change