Sheep producers now have access to an innovative new micro-bolus supplement that can be administered to lambs from as young as five weeks of age.

New COB-I-SEL 25 from Nettex is a slow-release, 25-day cobalt supplement that also delivers iodine, selenium and multi-vitamins. The micro-bolus formulation has been developed specifically to help flockmasters maintain optimum cobalt levels in rapidly growing lambs and produce quality carcasses at finish.

Cobalt is an essential mineral required for the rumen synthesis of vitamin B12, which is needed for starch metabolism and energy production. Growing lambs have very little storage capacity for these essential micro-nutrients and rely on a daily intake from feed, forage or grazing, says Nettex technical manager Nia Williams.

“Many pastures are deficient in cobalt – particularly those in the north of England, Wales, East Anglia and parts of the South West. In some of these areas animals can become cobalt deficient very quickly and will suffer from a condition known as ‘pine’ if not treated early. Animals affected will typically grow slowly, often remain small and in poor condition, and consequently take far longer to finish – which is costly,” she says.

Ms Williams says one of the main advantages of new COB-I-SEL 25 micro-bolus over other cobalt boluses is that it can be administered to very young lambs (five weeks of age), giving animals the mineral before they can become really deficient. Other available mineral boluses cannot currently be administered to lambs until they reach eight to 10 weeks of age.

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