Ask Dairy - Regulate Minerals

"As our herd has grown our manure output has grown of course. I have heard that some countries have started to regulate minerals like copper and zinc in soil and runoff from dairy operations. How can we manage that?"

You’re totally right in saying that some countries start paying a lot of attention to the effect that animal production can cause to the environment and obviously, spraying manure is one of those concerns. While spraying manure is an excellent way to bring nutrients back to the soil for vegetal productions, the excess happening in some regions of the world linked to high animal production densities causes real issues and local regulations have now come into place to reduce how much farmers can spray back on the soil.

As a dairy farmer, this may impact your capacity to expand a dairy business, except if you find ways to decrease the manure concentration in the concerning elements such as copper and zinc. A good way to make this is to feed your herd with organic trace elements like Bioplex (Alltech, Inc.) as research has shown that you can feed less of them in comparison to current practices in dairy business while keeping excellent milk production, health and reproductive performances. And of course, as you feed less and as these elements are more bio-available to the cow, this also means less is excreted back in the manure, which is then beneficial for the environment.

Expert Answer by: Sylvie Andrieu