With increasing input costs and many regions having poor growing conditions in recent years, there is pressure this spring to reduce input costs wherever possible. It is important to make these decisions carefully – sometimes the short-term savings are out-weighed by much greater long-term costs. Skimping on your vaccination or vitamin and mineral programs may save you in the short term, but can set you up for long-lasting negative consequences.
Not meeting minimum nutritional needs increases treatment and death rates
While vitamin and mineral supplements may seem like an added or unwanted cost, maintaining or enhancing your nutrition program can help prevent both reproductive wrecks and sickness in the future.
Vitamin supplementation becomes even more critical during and after drought. Vitamins A and E come from leafy green plants, so these vitamins are likely to be deficient when cows are eating drought-impacted forages. Calves born the spring following a drought have a much higher risk of vitamin A deficiency, and calves with severe vitamin A deficiency are nearly three times more likely to die than those with higher vitamin A levels. Vitamin A can be provided in an injectable form, but the typical vitamin A, D and E injectable supplement does not contain enough vitamin E to improve an animal’s mineral status and vitamin E must be supplemented another way.