The importance of Trace Elements – YPASG Livestock Group

YPASG Livestock Group Workshop 3 featured Dr Lyndall Short discussing the importance of trace elements in sheep and how to interpret appropriate levels in blood tests. Since last meeting, Lyndall took tests from the sheep of several members and discussed the results in relation to the feed, age and condition of the sheep tested. Adequate trace element nutrition has very significant implications of growth, reproduction, immunity, lactation as well as production of fibre and meat in livestock. Copper, cobalt, selenium and occasionally iodine are of most importance in production animal systems. Take home messages included 1/selenium is perhaps not as low on YP as we are led to believe (or we are supplementing sufficiently), 2/ there are copper deficient areas close to the coastal regions of YP, 3/ Vitamin B12 supplement is essential all year round, 4/ you cannot tell which trace element is lacking in stock as clinical signs are similar, therefore blood testing is essential. Blood testing also provides a better understanding of your flock levels of trace elements are considering any treatments being used and is a valuable tool in assessing for deficiency or toxicity. Blood testing allow implementation and monitoring of future supplementation programs, improves fertility and growth aspects of flocks where deficiency is a problem and makes farming systems more profitable by improving animal health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.