09 MARCH 2017
The importance of mineral nutrition is often underestimated, particularly in animals under significant metabolic pressure, such as the modern dairy cow. Balanced mineral nutrition is just as important as getting other areas, such as energy and protein levels, due to their involvement in so many bodily functions. Minerals are not only required for the maintenance of the cow, but also growth, production and fertility right from being a calf, through to maturity. Incorrect mineral nutrition of both macro-minerals and trace elements throughout the animals’ development can have an impact over its entire life, and can even have an impact on their offspring too. Not only are minerals and vitamins required in certain amounts on an individual basis but their interactions with each other also needs to be considered. Roles of Minerals Fifteen minerals are essential for life; these can be broken down into major minerals and trace minerals depending on whether they are required in relatively large or small amounts by the animal.
Major minerals are required by the animal in grams per day and are usually expressed as either a percentage of dry matter, or g/kg DM. Trace minerals are required in only milligrams per day and are usually expressed as mg/kg instead of percentage, due to the lower quantities required. On top of this, there are also vitamins to consider, particularly Vitamins A, D & E.