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Florida study shows organic minerals’ benefit to Angus and Brangus cows

August 29, 2017

Every producer knows that when a mother cow is healthy, her calves have a much better chance of being healthy, too. A new study done in 2017 at the University of Florida and published in The Professional Animal Scientist evaluated the response of 160 Angus (AN) and Brangus (BN) cows and their calves to either inorganic (ING) or organic (ORG) trace mineral sources. Cows supplemented with organic trace minerals received cobalt, copper, manganese, and zinc in the form of Bioplex® and selenium in the form of Sel-Plex®. Cows supplemented with inorganic trace minerals received them as salt sulfates and sodium selenite, respectively.

The level of mineral supplementation also varied between treatment groups. In the pelleted feed, the organic trace mineral treatment received 25 percent less copper, 13 percent less manganese and 29 percent less zinc as compared to the inorganic trace mineral treatment. In free choice, the organic trace mineral treatment received 45 percent less copper, 32 percent less manganese and 46 percent less zinc as compared to the inorganic trace mineral treatment.

Effect of mineral source on colostrum

The trial revealed that colostrum from cows supplemented with organic trace mineral sources contained 29 percent more immunoglobulin M (IgM mg/dL) antibodies compared to cows supplemented with inorganic trace minerals (P= 0.07). Organic trace mineral sources Bioplex and Sel-Plex-supplemented cows demonstrated statistically significant higher levels of selenium, and, specifically, Angus cows had twice the level of selenium compared to their inorganic counterparts (P ≤ 0.001).

The study also observed that somatic cell counts (SCC) in colostrum were 67 percent lower in Angus cows fed organic trace minerals when compared to cows fed inorganic trace minerals. Brangus cows fed organic trace minerals had 14.6 percent lower SCC compared to cows fed inorganic trace minerals.

Effect of maternal mineral nutrition on calf weight and antibody levels

As the study progressed, the researchers at the University of Florida observed the calves from these mother cows and found that calves fed the organic trace mineral sources of Bioplex and Sel-Plex showed a statistically significant increase in average daily gain, weaning weight and 205-day adjusted body weight compared to calves fed inorganic trace mineral sources (P ≤ 0.01).

Data for calf weight showed that Bioplex and Sel-Plex-supplemented calves were on average 22 pounds heavier at 205-day adjusted body weight compared to inorganic sources (P ≤ 0.01). Specifically, Angus calves supplemented with Bioplex and Sel-Plex minerals were 33 pounds heavier at 205-day adjusted body weight than Angus calves supplemented with inorganic sources.

The researchers also measured immunoglobulin levels and found that immunoglobulin A (IgA mg/dL) antibody measurements for calves supplemented with organic trace minerals Bioplex and Sel-Plex demonstrated a statistically significant 40.5 percent increase in calf serum at 24 hours after colostrum consumption compared to inorganic sources (P = 0.04).

For more information on Bioplex and Sel-Plex, visit click here.