Selenium for young- and dairy cattle: not too much and not too little!
In modern farming, the importance of proper supply of vitamins and minerals is increasing. The production (milk and meat), large differences in the ration, the use of simple raw materials, as well as the legislation, ensure that the management of vitamins, minerals and trace elements are becoming increasingly important.
Selenium in combination with vitamin E ensures the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. And a properly functioning thyroid is needed to activate iodine, which is essential for growth and milk production.
With increasing milk production, the selenium content in the roughage is not sufficient to cover the need. Attention must also be paid to the selenium supply when rearing young animals, because in this case, especially when the animals grow older, concentrate feed is no longer supplied and the animal only receives roughage.
How much selenium do cattle need?
Calf (+/- 4 mnd) 0,4 mg
Pink (+/- 16 mnd) 0,9 mg
Dairy cow, dry state 1,4 mg
Symptoms of selenium deficiency are:
The most important thing is that the roughage contains sufficient selenium. Grass and corn contain selenium, however, the amount depends on the content on the selenium content of the soil. A sandy soil does not contain enough minerals. That also applies to the grass. It may then be that young cattle receive too little selenium from the start. This can be prevented by using a long-acting bolus. Also with proper fertilization it is possible to get more selenium in the roughage. It is important to analyze how much selenium the silage contains.
How to keep the best level of selenium?
You can supplement the ration by providing a long-acting bolus, such as the Uno Dry or All Minerall Plus, or by feeding loose minerals (every day). The major disadvantage of loose minerals (over the feed) is that the intake per cow (young cattle is too variable) is not a guaranteed gift per day. This can be guaranteed with a long-acting bolus. A bolus is an ideal way of daily supplementation of selenium in combination with vitamin E.
How can you supplement a direct need for selenium?
This can be done through an injection (although only registered for calves) or a direct-acting bolus, the Tocosel Bolus. This gives a boost of Selenium to the animal.
Good roughage is the most important thing, together with a long-acting bolus or mineral powder as a permanent extra addition. Additionally to the threat of a selenium deficiency, a short-acting bolus can be used 6 to 8 weeks before calving.