Enhance Reproductive Performance in Your Beef Herd

May 22, 2023

Written by Dr. Jason Russell with our friends at Zinpro 
Your herd’s profitability depends on successful cow reproduction. Whether you choose to invest in a bull or AI, setting your cows up for high conception rates and reproductive health is crucial to capitalize on new genetics. Providing a complete nutrient package, including trace minerals, can improve your cows’ reproductive health and performance. Several essential nutrients are key players in the reproductive process:  
  • Zinc: Aids in immunity, DNA synthesis and replication, and healing epithelial tissue.  
  • Manganese: Critical for fetal bone development and ensuring calf growth and health.  
  • Copper: Acts as part of the antioxidant system to protect against cellular damage.  
  • Cobalt: Promotes fiber digestion and is key to proper energy metabolism.  
  • Selenium: Crucial for antioxidant function, promoting immunity, and clearing infections.  
To ensure the best future for your herd, you need a reproductive plan that includes a strategically balanced diet with the best trace mineral nutrition available.   

Trace Mineral Deficiencies Hinder Reproductive Performance 
It is challenging to make sure cows breed back early, maintain pregnancies, and stick to tighter calving intervals. These challenges frequently stem from trace mineral deficiencies and can have a domino effect across production stages.  

Early embryonic loss is the greatest contributor to total pregnancy loss in a herd, widening the calving window. And, cows that maintain a pregnancy while trace mineral deficient are more likely to have weaker, underdeveloped calves. After calving, trace mineral deficiencies continue to hurt your herd, and hinder a cow’s ability to heal from the damage that occurs during calving, resulting in weaker epithelial integrity and immunity. Cows that do not heal properly will have more issues breeding back, thus repeating the cycle.   

The good news is that you can avoid these obstacles. Building a trace mineral program with the right partner reduces reproductive headaches, including delayed or nonexistent estrus cycles, early embryonic loss in animals that are cycling, and the inability to heal post-calving.  
Better Year-Round Nutrition Sets Your Herd up for Generational Reproductive Success 
You can prevent these losses by providing trace minerals with the most unrivaled mineral absorption on the market year-round through all stages of development and reproduction. Zinpro® Performance Minerals® are absorbed via amino acid pathways, allowing cows to absorb and utilize more of these essential nutrients than inorganic sources.  

When feeding Zinpro® Availa® 4, a blend of complexed zinc, manganese, copper, and cobalt, conception rates increased 20% compared to inorganic minerals. Better conception rates allow for tighter, more ideal calving windows. In a three-year study, conception rate improvements resulted in a 16-day shorter calving interval when cows were fed Zinpro Availa 4. Sixteen extra days will help you keep cows in the herd and have heavier calves at weaning.  

Prioritizing trace mineral nutrition also leads to generational improvements across your herd. Research showed heifers reached puberty 19 days earlier regardless of bodyweight when their mothers were fed Zinpro Availa 4 during pregnancy. Earlier puberty gives you a larger pool of cycling heifers from which to choose replacements, and multiple cycles prior to first breeding increases the odds of breeding success. In other research, heifers fed Zinpro Availa 4 had 73% early pregnancy retention compared with 62% in heifers fed an inorganic trace mineral.  
Evaluating the herd’s nutritional environment can also help combat or prevent reproductive challenges. When partnering with producers to troubleshoot reproductive challenges, Zinpro beef specialists routinely evaluate the current nutrition program and herd history, and test water quality. Water can carry antagonists that inhibit mineral absorption, so it’s important to know what is in your water and how it impacts your trace mineral program.  

When purchasing new animals from outside the herd, it’s also important to understand the history of trace mineral supplementation to be proactive about potential issues.  

Co-op Brand Supreme and Ultimate minerals contain Zinpro Availa 4.  See your local Co-op today for your cattle nutritional needs.   

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