Copper is an essential trace element required for many functions directly related to the productivity of your stock. There are several reasons why animals become deficient in copper over winter and spring. These include;
- Copper absorption and availability are hindered by soil and plant factors (molybden, sulphur & Iron content)
- Animals may undergo gut lining changes caused by parasitism.
- Many crops that are fed in the winter such as kale are low in copper.
- Copper requirements increase during winter and spring due to the demands of pregnancy and lactation.
Testing Animals for Copper
To test copper in your stock blood samples will identify deficiency, however this will not quantify reserve copper levels. To determine reserve levels liver sampling of 6 animals is required. On farm biopsies are a good option. We also can organise samples to be taken from stock slaughtered through the works
Copper Options - The time to build your stock's copper reserve is now!
By supplementing copper now, your stock will be able to draw down on liver reserves during the approaching deficient period. Supplementation of pregnant animals will benefit the foetus via the placenta.
Contact one of our veterinarians to discuss supplement options and how copper deficiency may be affecting your production.
Philip S. Hyndman BVSc