First Trimester- Mineral Management
Updated: Sep 29, 2021
Breeding season is over and bulls are pulled; so put the mineral feeders away, right?
WAIT! Hear me out. The first trimester is a very sensitive time for the embryo and the cow. Taking the mineral away too quickly can contribute to higher open rates in your cow herd. Mineral and vitamin deficiencies throughout pregnancy can also contribute to abortions, weak calves, dystocia, and some immune system deficiencies in calves. Placentome development is essential in the first half of pregnancy to facilitate nutrient and waste transfer between the dam and fetus. Having this transfer is essential for the development of the fetus. Once the placentome is developed, there is active transfer between the dam and fetus and less chance of aborting. However, if vitamins and minerals are restricted in early pregnancy, there can be lasting effects such as abortion and poor nutrient transfer to the fetus causing developmental defects.
With the drought, many people are resorting to starting cattle on stored forage early this year which are lower in nutrients than standing forage. Unfortunately, the drought has also caused quality and quantity of stored forage to be lower this year which will limit the nutrient availability. Supplementing cattle with other feed sources as well as minerals and vitamins through the fall and winter is vital. Fall grazing and winter feeding often consist of the later stage standing forage, swathed forage, or bales. These types of forages have lost a significant amount of feed value and nutrient concentration compared to summer grazing fields. Keeping these animals supplemented will keep body condition score up and reduce the risk of developmental defects in the fetus.