VIRBAC NEWS | Micro-nutrition: a key role in feeding ruminants

October 17, 2019 0 By Ewald Bahringer

Today, farmers have to ensure
optimal farming conditions both for the animal welfare
and productivity. Yet, in the lifetime of an animal
or during the production cycle, there are periods
where induced oxidative stress is particularly intense. These are high energetic
metabolism periods, such as growth,
late pregnancy or lactation. Interactions with humans
are also stressful: vaccination, transportation, acclimation to new herd mates, feeding with high proteins rations… Oxidative stress is related to the normal functioning
of living organisms, particularly energetic metabolism. Whatever it cost, an organism operates
different metabolic pathways, let’s call them energy supply,
to cover its needs. If not met it can have
bad consequences for the animal, such as metabolic diseases, or can be also associated
with a high level of free radicals that impair the liver functions, the immune system
and reproductive performances. Practically, it is said
that almost all cows can suffer from a negative energy balance
in their life and thus be exposed
to oxidative stress. Ultimately, oxidative stress results
in a higher demand of antioxidants. In such a case, farmers can give cows natural dietary antioxidants, such as vitamine E or beta-carotene,
to name a few. But most of the times, that’s not enough
to meet the animal’s needs. So they have to supplement animals with precursors or trace minerals. This is what is referred
as micro-nutrition. Alongside
with a better balance feeding, micro-nutrition helps prepare animals several weeks
before high demand periods. With supplemental trace minerals, such as copper, zinc,
manganese or selenium, animals can produce themselves
antioxidants enzymes and are therefore capable to maintain their antioxidant status
during critical periods and thus impact positively
on-farm productivity in the area of immunity,
resistance to disease, reproduction and growth. Talking of immunity
and resistance to disease, micro-nutrition can also be seen as a promising way to decrease
the use of antimicrobials. Micro-nutrition is an area
well known to Virbac as an essential pillar
to cattle prevention and welfare. For more than two decades, Virbac has been an expert
in this domain, sharing knowledge
by webinars and roadshows with experts on topics
of injectable trace elements, gaining experience
from vets and farmers and providing them
with a wide range of products in South Africa, Korea and countries from Latin America
and Pacific. Over the last decades, the improvement of management practices
and nutrition have led to improving animals health and increasing
their production performances. Therefore, the essential role
of trace elements in livestock nutrition is undisputed and even
more important for the future, particularly in the context
of reasonable use of antibiotics. Thus, Virbac’s commitment
is to create awareness on the importance
of injectable micro-nutrition prior to critical periods and educate vets
and farmers globally.