18 September 1998

Trace element warning

THIS years unusual weather could mean increasing risk of trace element deficiency, despite many producers offering sheep and cattle a generous supply.

Vet consultant Tony Andrews says deficiencies have been seen in sheep, adult cattle and calves. While unusual weather could be the cause of deficiencies, price pressure means some producers may have reduced minerals or concentrates causing insufficient supply.

Stock fed concentrate are unlikely to suffer deficiencies, unless the farm has a specific need for a trace element. Often, producers offer too much mineral without identifying specific trace elements needed, says Dr Andrews.

Salop-based sheep specialist Chris Lewis believes fast growing grass and long grass has contributed to cobalt deficiency in lambs, causing slow growth rates.

He suggests blood testing a group of lambs to identify any deficiency and discussing results with a vet. "When results are positive treat with a Vitamin B12 injection, followed by drenching with a cobalt mixture every three weeks." &#42