If the Drought Continues, What Could I Expect Will Be the Nutritional Effects on the Cow Herd?

If the Drought Continues, What Could I Expect Will Be the Nutritional Effects on the Cow Herd?

John Paterson, PhD Emeritus Professor from Montana State University Consultant for MULTIMIN® 90

Reduced forage intake caused by drought can have an adverse effect on reproductive efficiency, especially if cows are thin at calving. Cows that enter the winter in poor body condition can have lower survivability, but they also have a greater chance to have a weak calf, produce an inadequate quality and quantity of colostrum for their calves, have a calf with a reduced weaning weight and fail to rebreed during the next breeding season.  Adult cows need to calve in a body condition score (BCS) of 5.5-6.0 while bred heifers need to be in even better condition than adult cows.

When facing drought conditions during the breeding season it appears the rancher has two choices to consider: supplement the deficient nutrients and/or reduce the size of the cow herd to match reduced forage available. When dealing with drought, remember to provide the big nutrients first by asking two questions: Is there adequate protein and/ or energy (TDN) in the diet? What symptoms are the cows showing during or after a drought? Do you observe an increase in respiratory sickness (immune system), is there decreased reproductive efficiency (lowered conception), a change in hair color (red hair on an Angus) and finally did cows not “clean” after calving (retained placenta)? If you answered yes to these observations, then there may also be a mineral deficiency.

Both macro minerals (required in larger quantities, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium) and micro minerals (required in smaller quantities such as copper, zinc, selenium, and manganese) can cause decreased conception, delayed estrus, abnormal estrus, depressed immunity, and reduced forage intake. Subclinical trace mineral deficiencies probably occur more frequently than recognized by most producers and may be a larger problem than an acute mineral deficiency. This is because the rancher does not see specific symptoms that are characteristic of a trace mineral deficiency. With a subclinical deficiency, the animal grows or reproduces at a reduced rate, uses feed less efficiently and operates with a depressed immune system.

However, the major disadvantage to free-choice minerals is lack of uniform daily consumption by animals. Factors which influence consumption of loose minerals include: (1) soil fertility and forage type, (2) season of year, (3) available energy and protein, (4) individual requirements, (5) salt and mineral content of water, (6) palatability of mineral mixture, and (7) physical form of the minerals. An injection of trace minerals containing copper, zinc, selenium, and manganese provided by MULTIMIN® 90 can quickly overcome some of these problems by complementing the free choice fed mineral containing these trace minerals.

Antagonists in water or forage such as molybdenum, sulfur and iron can reduce the availability & digestibility of trace minerals.

Feed and/or water sources that are high in sulfur caused by drought can induce a copper deficiency in cattle despite adequate copper intake. This is because sulfur and molybdenum separately or together can form insoluble complexes in the rumen with copper and markedly reduce its availability to the animal. High dietary molybdenum in combination with moderate to high dietary sulfur results in formation of thiomolybdates in the rumen which greatly reduce copper absorption. Independent of molybdenum, high dietary sulfur reduces copper absorption probably by the formation of copper sulfide.

Selenium bioavailability is also reduced by high dietary sulfur and high dietary iron can also reduce copper bioavailability.

This is one reason that an injection with MULTIMIN® 90 will overcome ruminal effects on absorption caused by antagonism because research shows that plasma copper, selenium and zinc concentrations increase rapidly after injection compared to an inorganic form fed as a supplement. Work from Iowa State University found a significant boost in trace mineral status within 14 days after calves received an injection of MULTIMIN® 90 compared to calves fed an inorganic and chelated-organic mineral combination which reached the same level after 28 days. The group supplemented with only inorganic minerals took about 45 days to reach the same trace mineral status as the MULTIMIN® 90 calves.


  1. Drought causes a decrease in forage intake which results in decreases in protein, energy and trace mineral consumption.
  2. Cows showing poor body condition (<5) have a greater chance of having a weak calf, producing an inadequate quality and quantity of colostrum for their calves, having a calf with a reduced weaning weight and failure to rebreed during the next breeding season.
  3. During a drought, water quality from ponds may be lowered due to an increase in sulfate and iron. These two minerals plus forage molybdenum cause an antagonism in the rumen which reduces bioavailability of copper and selenium. A MULTIMIN® 90 injection overcomes these antagonisms and has a faster uptake into the blood stream than feeding an inorganic source of minerals.
  4. Thin cows with a body condition score of less than 5 caused by drought appear to be a good candidate for a MULTIMIN® 90 injection.
  5. The use of an injection with MULTIMIN® 90 in conjunction with feeding a loose mineral makes practical sense to prevent a decline in reproduction, immunity and proper response to vaccines.
Learn more about how MULTIMIN® 90 can support your herd in drought conditions and contact your MULTIMIN® USA Technical Sales Representative.

Pregnancy-Check Time Is Critical For Maintaining A Profitable Ranch Operation

Pregnancy-Check Time is Critical for Maintaining a Profitable Ranch Operation!

Is your cow/heifer pregnant? Then it is time for MULTIMIN® 90

Just like human babies, calves thrive better when their moms are in a positive nutritional state during pregnancy. Pregnant cows and heifers also need prenatal supplements such as trace minerals:

Inject MULTIMIN® 90 because:

By injecting MULTIMIN® 90 any time from preg-check to 30 days before calving, you ensure that every pregnant dam is properly supplemented with copper, selenium, zinc and manganese.

add Value to Your Preg-Checking!

At the label dose of 1ml/200lbs body weight for a 1,200lb cow over 2 years of age, the dose for MULTIMIN® 90 is 6ml. This 2-in-1 treatment for the cow and her fetus is less than $3


At weaning, calves need more trace minerals. They are stressed, often not eating enough, and they need to respond properly to vaccines, which also drain trace minerals. However, the calves are growing rapidly, and they may already be trace mineral deficient. 

ab Means with unlike superscripts differ (P < 0.05)

Branum, Jay Christopher. “Impact of Prenatal Dietary Copper Level on Copper Status and Immunity of Newborn and Growing Calves.” Texas A & M University, 1999.

ab Means with unlike superscripts differ (P < 0.05)

Arthington, J. D., et al. “Effects of Trace Mineral Injections on Measures of Performance and Trace Mineral Status of Pre- and Postweaned Beef Calves.” Journal of Animal Science, vol. 92, no. 6, 2014, pp. 2630–2640., doi:10.2527/jas.2013-7164.

make MULTIMIN® 90 a core product in your weaned calf health program!

Several independent university studies showed calves treated with MULTIMIN® 90 at the same time as vaccines had:

For All Calves, Colostrum Holds Key to a Healthy Start

For All Calves, Colostrum Holds Key to a Healthy Start

Jerry Rusch, DVM

A calf is a future herd replacement, breeding candidate or destined as protein on a consumer’s dinner plate. No matter if they are dairy, beef or a cross of the two, a healthy start sets them up for a lifetime of success. The key to giving them a healthy start is the feeding of clean, high quality colostrum, which is the ideal method of transferring proper nutrients and antibodies into newborn calves. The antibodies a calf receives from its mother help ward off disease until its own “naïve” immune system matures and effectively develops its own immune response.

When mother’s colostrum isn’t an option, a colostrum replacer (CR) can be entirely administered to newborns as a healthy alternative; and a colostrum supplement (CS) can be used to boost maternal colostrum.

Here are some tips to make the best decision for feeding colostrum to your newborn calves.

  1. Determine if you need a colostrum replacer or a colostrum supplement. (Also see for quick reference, Table 1, Beef Protocol, within this article.)

    Colostrum replacer. A product that is able to raise serum IgG concentration greater than 10 mg/ml within 24–48 hours after birth, in order to avoid failure of passive transfer (FPT), may be called a colostrum replacer.

    One dose of at least 115g IgG–immunity-transferring proteins commonly called immunoglobulins (IgGs)—is generally accepted to be the minimum required to meet this target, while providing sufficient immunity for disease protection for the calf. Newer industry standards suggest 150–200g for achieving higher successful passive transfer rates. Most replacement products contain at least 115g of Bovine IgG. You can always feed multiple bags of a supplement to reach that same level of IgG. Follow the instructions on the colostrum bag to understand how many bags to feed to replace maternal colostrum.

    Colostrum supplement. In general, products that contain less than 115g IgG per dose are categorized as colostrum supplements. These products are usually in the range of 50–60g IgG per package and, in a single dose, do not provide the calf with sufficient levels of immunity for disease protection. Supplements cannot replace high-quality colostrum, but they can be used to increase the amount of IgG fed to calves when maternal colostrum is partially inadequate either by quantity or quality. Partial contents of a replacement product can be also used as a supplement.

    • How much colostrum is enough? The amount of colostrum needed depends on the quality of colostrum, size of the calf and timing and method of feeding. As a rule, calves should be fed an amount of colostrum equal to 10 percent of their body weight. To reduce calf losses and prepare calves to reach optimum long-term potential, most veterinarians now recommend that calves receive at least 1 gallon or 4 liters of good quality colostrum within the first 6 hours of life. This should provide calves with 150-200g of IgG. Research trials show that calves with higher serum IgG levels have higher long-term productivity, including weight gain and milk production as adults.

    • When should colostrum be fed? The first feeding of colostrum should occur within one hour of birth. Within six hours, a calf’s gut closure reduces absorption of large IgG antibody proteins by as much as one-third. FPT for any reason, including the use of poor-quality colostrum, an insufficient quantity fed, or receiving colostrum too late and gut closure begins (in which openings in a calf’s gut lining shrink and become too small for large proteins such as IgGs to pass) can leave a calf vulnerable to disease and can even compromise its development and future performance.

  2. When choosing products, read and compare labels for IgG content and product effectiveness.

    • Colostrum replacers vary in their makeup. Some are derived from bovine colostrum, while others from blood serum or a combination of the two. Products listed as real colostrum contain colostrum collected from dairy cattle that has been dried and heat-treated or irradiated to inactivate harmful agents such as those that cause Johne’s disease and mycoplasmosis. Serum products are essentially built from the ground up and use collected blood as the source of antibodies for the calf.

    • Determine if the product is labeled with a claim for Bovine IgG or globulin proteins. IgG, more specifically IgG1, are the actual antibodies that protect the young calf from pathogens that may cause scours and respiratory diseases. Globulin proteins are comprised of a variety of other proteins as well as the IgG antibodies. To determine what percentage of the globulin protein is IgG, read the label to see what specific IgG level the package is guaranteed to contain.

      As discussed above, one dose of at least 115g IgG is generally accepted to be the minimum required in order to avoid failure of passive transfer (FPT), while providing sufficient immunity for disease protection for the calf. Feeding more colostrum is strongly recommended when calves are stressed, sanitation is poor or calfhood disease is high.

    • Determine if the product is licensed by the USDA as a total replacement for maternal colostrum. A colostrum product that is licensed by the USDA guarantees the product’s potency or effectiveness in transferring immunity to calves within the first 12 hours of life. Licensed colostrum replacement products are classified as biologicals and are regulated by federal government agencies—in the U.S. by the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics and in Canada by the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency.

  3. Don’t forget about colostral fat. A newborn calf requires colostral immunity along with an adequate source of natural colostral fat, hormones, growth factors, vitamins and minerals. The function of colostrum is to transfer all of these components from dam to calf.

    Colostral fat is a powerful nutrient that stimulates brown fat metabolism, which acts as an important source of energy required by the calf immediately after birth. For calves born into cold conditions and calves that have had a difficult or prolonged birth, this is especially important for regulating body temperature.

    Newborn calves have a narrow thermal-neutral zone—59°–77°F (15–25°C). Either colder or warmer, a calf needs additional energy to maintain metabolism. Therefore, the administration of high-quality colostrum containing natural colostral fat as soon as possible after birth helps calves defend themselves against cold stress.

    The USDA estimates that 95,000 calves die each year due to cold stress. The majority of young calf deaths occur within 24 hours after birth and often because calves fail to receive the energy they need to survive. Newborn calves have a narrow thermal-neutral zone—59°–77°F (15–25°C). Either colder or warmer, a calf needs additional energy to maintain metabolism. Therefore, the administration of high-quality colostrum containing natural colostral fat as soon as possible after birth helps calves defend themselves against cold stress.

    When determining colostral quality, consider both immunoglobulin as well as natural fat concentrations. A good rule is to look for at least 14% colostral fat on the label. A label is your best bet for checking the ingredients and nutritional analysis of colostrum products, and so is the advice of your veterinarian.

  4. Have a plan in place. Late night calvings and cold winter storms are situations that require special attention toward newborn calves. Whatever protocol is best for your ranch, be sure to have a proper plan in place for all members and employees to abide by. Always have colostrum replacers and supplements on hand because you never know when a calf might need one.
Table 1. When to intervene with a colostrum replacer or colostrum supplement.

Republished with permission from MWI Animal Health. Source: Producer Outlook, Winter 2021

Calving Basics: Pointers for Success

Calving Basics: Pointers for Success

Jerry Rusch, DVM

It’s calving time—you’ve done what you can to get your cows and heifers bred and ready for this season. They’re in good shape, you’ve used some of the best genetics yet and have utilized known calving-case sires. All females were confirmed pregnant this past fall with appropriate shots given and are on a good plane of nutrition. You are geared up for calving season. But in order to be fully prepared for this exciting time, consider arming—or at least refreshing—yourself with some knowledge and basic skills for calving cows, while also having necessary supplies gathered and on hand. Unfortunately, a dystocia or difficult calving can be a stressful experience for both bovine and producer.

Prepare with a Plan, Approach

The best way to prepare for a successful calving season is to have a plan in place. You need to decide the schedule that works best for your operation and employees to check the cows and how often. Also have a plan on how to catch the cow and restrain it if intervention is necessary. In addition, you will need a clean area for this to be done with good hygiene. If there is a problem you cannot handle, you will need veterinary assistance. Having a good relationship with a veterinarian is paramount before you need to call on this person to assist with an emergency. Talk to your veterinarian beforehand to formulate a plan in the event you do need help. You can work out details such as when to contact your vet, how best to contact, and other preferences your veterinarian has. Another important to-do: check your equipment and animal health supplies. Make sure you have everything you need before you need it.

Have These Basic Supplies On Hand

For you as a producer, to be prepared to handle a dystocia, you will need some basic supplies on hand. An obstetrical kit containing OB full-arm sleeves, lubricant, a bucket, two clean sanitized OB chains, two OB handles, and a calf extractor/jack should be kept together. This will make it easier to grab and go when a calving emergency arises. Other supplies could include a light source, halter and pen with a head gate to utilize. Medical supplies to have readily accessible should include an injectable broad-spectrum antibiotic, oxytocin, anti-inflammatory and steroids. Consult with your veterinarian to obtain prescriptions products.

Recognize the Three Stages of Normal Parturition

Most times, a cow will not need calving assistance. But in order to know when to intervene, you need to know and recognize the normal stages of parturition.

Stage 1 of the birthing process is dilation of the cervix. This can take several days to complete and you may only notice a clear mucus string from the vagina. At the end of stage 1, uterine contractions start pushing the uterine contents against the cervix, which causes further dilation.

Stage 2 starts with the appearance of membranes (water bag). The calf should then be delivered in a timely fashion (usually 1 hour).

Stage 3 is the passing of the placenta, which can take up to 8–12 hours after the calf is delivered.

Be Familiar with the Causes of Dystocia

The basic causes of dystocia are either fetal/dam mal proportion (calf is too big) or calf mal presentation (calf is positioned incorrectly). Other causes can include cow malnourishment, uterine torsion, fetal monsters, genetic anomalies and twins. Usually uterine torsion, genetic
anomalies, fetal monsters and large calves require veterinary intervention for resolution. Options available to veterinarians include a C-section, which is surgical removal of the calf, or a fetotomy, which is to cut the dead calf into pieces in utero to facilitate removal.

Know When to Intervene

When you first notice a cow in active labor, you should monitor her for hourly progress. If you see a water bag hanging out, wait an hour and if no progress has been made, then do an internal vaginal exam. The exception to the one-hour rule is if a problem is suspected. If so, a vaginal exam should immediately be performed. For example, if one leg and the head are out but there is no sign of the other leg, then immediate intervention is necessary. It is always inadvisable to wait too long for intervention. This is even more important in a heifer versus a cow.

The first step in calving intervention is to safely and properly restrain the cow or heifer. Ideally a head gate and chute with a side gate that can be safely swung open should be utilized. There are situations where a head gate is not possible and a rope and halter will need to be used. In this situation you must be very careful of your safety when reaching into her vagina. Before reaching in, thoroughly clean the vaginal and perineal area of the cow. You can use dish soap or ideally a betadine scrub/solution to clean and then rinse with warm water. Using copious amounts of lubricant and utilizing OB sleeves, examine the cow/heifer internally to determine the alignment and position of the calf. Careful and systemically, palpate the area making sure to get your orientation. Do you feel a head or a tail? Do you feel one foot or two? Which legs are you feeling?

The normal position is head first with the head resting on the extended front legs, all three engaged in the pelvis [Figure 1] You should never apply traction until you have this alignment present. The opposite position is posterior, where the rear legs and tail are coming first [Figure 2] It is impossible to turn a calf that is coming posterior to deliver it head and front feet first.

When Should You Call for Veterinary Intervention

  • If calf is coming rear legs first, the fetal hips should be able to clear the pelvic inlet of the cow. If it feels like the calf will not fit, you will need to call your veterinarian immediately.
  • If both forelimbs and the poll of the head are not engaged in the pelvis, it may not fit and you will need to call your veterinarian.
  • Take note of the time when you first reach in. If you are not making significant progress in an hour or are unsure what you are feeling, call your veterinarian for assistance.
  • Difficulty pulling a calf
  • Large calves
  • Uterine torsion
  • Genetic anomalies
  • Fetal monsters
  • Anytime you feel it is beyond your skill set

Tips to Consider for Correcting Mal Placements

  • Feel for a head and two feet or tail and two feet
  • Do not apply traction unless you have two feet and a head or tail
  • The first and second joints will bend in the same direction on a front leg
  • The first and second joints will bend in opposite directions on a rear leg
  • Be clean and use plenty of OB lube
  • Know your limits and when to call your veterinarian for Assistance

Before applying traction, you should assess whether the calf will fit. If both forelimbs and the poll of the head engage in the pelvis, then that is a good indicator it will be able to be successfully delivered. If it is coming rear legs first, the fetal hips should be able to clear the pelvic inlet of the cow. If it feels like the calf will not fit, you will need to call your veterinarian immediately. Take note of the time when you first reach in. If you are not making significant progress in an hour or are unsure what you are feeling, call your veterinarian for assistance.

When assisting a cow, proper OB chain placement is critical. Make one loop and slide it above the fetlock joint. Then make another half hitch below the joint above the coronary band and below the dewclaws [Figure 3]. This allows for the pressure from pulling to be applied over the
entire fetlock. Failure to apply the second half hitch can result in too much pressure on one spot and a fractured bone.

After proper chain placement on both legs, attach the OB handle and, while using plenty of lube, alternate pressure on one leg then another. Do this in coordination with the cow as she contracts. Remember you are assisting her. In some cases, a calf jack can be used. I would caution that this should only be used by someone who has been properly instructed and has experience using one. If at any time you encounter difficulty or the calf seems stuck, call
your veterinarian

There are Multiple Variations of Abnormal Positions

The two most commonly encountered are breech [Figure 4] and head back [Figure 5]. On a breech calving, you will need to push the calf forward to make room. You can then attempt to grab one hock and pull it up to get it engaged in the pelvic inlet. In some cows there may be enough room to have one arm and hand in to push forward on the calf as you reach in with the other hand to grab and pull the hock up. After getting the hock up, you can slide your hand down and grab the hoof cradling it in your hand. Using your other hand to continue to push forward on the calf, you can pull up and try to engage the rear foot in the pelvis. Once you have one leg up, you repeat the process for the other. This is a difficult maneuver and should only be attempted by an experienced rancher. On a head back calving, you can actually push back and fold the front leg on the side the head is turned. This will allow room to grab the head and engage it in the pelvis. Once the head is brought up, you can then realign the leg and deliver the calf. When you successfully deliver the calf, you should always check to make sure there is not another calf present.

Twins are another possible dystocia cause. In that case it is just a matter of sorting out what legs belong to which calf and pulling one at a time. To determine if it is a front or rear leg, remember this: the first and second joints will bend in the same direction on a front leg, while the joints bend in opposite directions on a rear leg. There are many other possibilities of calving positions. Always work toward getting either the front legs and head or rear legs and pelvis engaged into the dam’s pelvic inlet for delivery. Other previously mentioned issues include uterine torsion, fetal monsters, and genetic anomalies. In those cases, prompt veterinary intervention is necessary.

Calving season can be a very rewarding time of year. By properly preparing the needed equipment and supplies, you can make calving a less stressful time for all involved.

You Have a Live Calf Pulled, Now What?

After successfully getting a live calf on the ground, there are a few things you can do to ensure a healthy calf at weaning. Depending on the status of the cow, you may need to rub the calf down and clear its mouth of any mucus or obstructions. Hanging it upside down is not a good idea as this pushes all the abdominal contents against the diaphragm and hinders breathing. Instead, you can use a piece of straw and put it into the calf’s nose to stimulate sneezing and head shaking to clear the airways.

Next, you need to ensure that the calf consumes colostrum, preferably within 6 hours of birth but definitely before 24 hours. This will provide adequate antibodies to fight disease. Calves that do not intake adequate colostrum can have a 50 percent mortality and are more likely to get sick even later in life in the feedlot.

If the calf will not nurse, ideally you would want to milk out the cow and tube feed the fresh colostrum to the calf. When using a tube feeder, make sure you have been trained in the proper placement, as it is possible to pass the tube down the trachea and into the lungs.1 If you cannot milk the cow, there are numerous commercially available colostrum products to totally replace the dam’s first milk or just supplement it.2

It is also a good time to give an injectable trace mineral like MULTIMIN® 90 to ensure optimal mineral levels for proper immune system development and to prevent deficiency of selenium, zinc, copper and manganese. If there is a chance of fluid in the lungs and a secondary pneumonia, an injectable broad-spectrum antibiotic may be necessary. Depending on the recommendation of your herd health veterinarian, you may also consider an intranasal respiratory vaccine or an oral scour preventative vaccine. This may be deemed necessary, depending on your particular situation.

Having the proper supplies on hand prior to calving season optimizes your calf crop’s survivability and maximizes your economic return.

Republished with permission from MWI Animal Health. Source: Producer Outlook, Winter 2021

Mycotoxins and the Dairy Industry

Mycotoxins and the Dairy Industry

Dan Tracy, DVM


Mycotoxins are toxins that are produced by molds.  Molds that are discussed often as it relates to the dairy industry are Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Fusarium which can be found in forages and grains. Examples of the toxins produced are aflatoxins, vomitoxin, T-2, zearalenone, fumonisin, and ochratoxin.1  Aflatoxins produced by Aspergillus have cancer-causing properties and can be excreted in the milk (AFM1) which is a major concern in the dairy industry as it pertains to public health.2 As a result, aflatoxin levels in the milk are monitored and regulated.  Stored feeds such as corn silage can be contaminated preharvest, especially when the plant is stressed, and or environmental conditions favor mold growth. In addition, contamination can occur during harvest, transport or through improper storage. Dairy cattle are at increased risk because rations typically contain multiple sources of potentially affected feedstuffs. In dairy cattle, consumption of these toxins can have a negative impact on milk production, feed intake, gut health, immune function, and reproductive performance.1 Many forage labs have established methods and guidelines to evaluate forages and grains for the presence of mycotoxins.  Management strategies include eliminating or diluting the feedstuffs with high mycotoxin levels and or including “binders” to reduce the impact of the consumed toxin.

Mycotoxins, Trace Minerals and Oxidative Stress

Mycotoxin are thought to contribute to oxidative stress.3 Oxidants are harmful to cells but are a normal biological byproduct in the body and are kept in check by antioxidants. However, during times of stress, inflammation, or toxin challenge, more oxidants are produced. Oxidative stress occurs when production of oxidants overwhelms the antioxidant capacity of the body and this can lead to a compromised immune system. The Mycotoxins are also toxic and negatively affect organ systems as well. During an aflatoxin challenge, the liver works harder to break down the toxin, undergoes oxidative stress and more protein breakdown occurs in the liver. Trace minerals such as Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn), Selenium (Se) and Copper (Cu) play an important role in prevention of oxidative stress because they form part of specific antioxidant enzymes.4

Recently, a trial was conducted by the University of Illinois to evaluate the effects of an injectable trace mineral supplement, containing Zn, Mn, Se, and Cu (MULTIMIN® 90) during an aflatoxin challenge in lactating cows. This study showed that cows that were challenged with aflatoxins and received injectable trace minerals, had a better antioxidant response in their livers to help with the detoxifying process and to help minimize the amount of protein break down that occurs compared to cows that did not receive injectable trace minerals.5

Mycotoxins continue to be a concern of the dairy industry. Continual surveillance and feed management are essential in lessening the impact to health of dairy cattle. Utilizing an ITM may serve as an additional way to lessen the impact though providing the building blocks to maintain the antioxidant status of cattle.

Contact your MULTIMIN® USA Technical Sales Representative to learn more about how MULTIMIN® 90 can help your herd overcome aflatoxin challenges.


  1. Diaz, Durante and Jean-Pierre Jouany. Effects of Mycotoxins in Ruminants. [book auth.] Durante Diaz. [ed.] Durante Diaz. The Mycotoxin Blue Book. Nottinngham : Nottingham University Press, 2005, pp. 295-321.
  2. Galvano, Fabio, Alberto Ritieni, Gianfranco Piva, and Amedeo Pietri. Mycotoxins in the Human Food Chain. [book auth.] Duarte Diaz. The Mycotoxin Blue Book. Nottingham : s.n., 2005.
  3. Surai, Peter F., and Julia E. Dvorska. Effects of Mycotoxins on Antioxidant Status and Immunity. [book auth.] Duarte Diaz. The Mycotoxin Blue Book. Nottingham : s.n., 2005.
  4. Suttle, Neville. Mineral Nutrition of Livestock 4th Edition. Cambridge : CABI, 2010. 978-1-84593-427-9.
  5. Injectable trace minerals (selenium, copper, zinc, and manganese) alleviate inflammation and oxidative stress during an aflatoxin.Pate, R.T. and F. C. Cardoso. 2018, Journal of Dairy Science, pp. 8532-8543.

The Effects of Drought on Trace Mineral Status of Breeding Cattle

The Effects of Drought on Trace Mineral Status of Breeding Cattle

John Paterson, PhD

The biggest threat from drought to long-term reproduction of cows is the lack of available forage which results in her ability to rebreed. In other words, is there enough forage for her to meet nutritional requirements? Are the cows in adequate body condition? Cows with a body condition score of 4 at calving are expected to have a lower pregnancy rate or longer postpartum interval than cows with a condition score of 5. Because drought can cause lower body condition scores, ranchers may observe herds with 50-60% pregnancy rates compared to a normal of 80-90%. The following picture shows cows grazing drought impacted range in AZ. Conception rates varied between 55 and 70%.

Drought-impacted forages may be low in trace minerals which can also lead to a reduced ability to cycle causing a failure to breed back and have a live healthy calf. Average mineral concentration of grasses from a MT study showed that Cu and Zn in grasses were deficient (< 6 ppm Cu) and < 21 ppm for Zn. The requirement for Cu is 10 ppm and 30 ppm for Zn. Similar results were also reported for native grasses in TX. Reproductively, a deficiency in Cu can lead to decreased conception rates, infertility, silent heats and fetal resorption. Other symptoms include: poor growth, rough hair coat, fragile bones, diarrhea, and cardiac failure. Zinc (Zn) deficient cows appear to display abnormal estrus as well as reduced fertility. Manganese (Mn) deficiency will result in impaired ovulation while a deficiency of selenium (Se) can lead to cystic ovaries and erratic, weak or silent heat periods. All four of these trace minerals can be provided by a Multimin®90 injection at critical production periods (calving, branding/prebreeding, weaning).

In one research study, cows were provided Zn, Cu and Mn supplementation and were compared to cows not given any additional Cu, Zn or Mn. The average length of time from the beginning of the breeding season to conception was 22 days for trace mineral supplemented cows compared to 42 days for non-supplemented cows.

Theoretically this could translate into a difference of 40 lbs. of weaning weight (2 lbs./day ADG preweaning x 20 days). In another study while there was no effect on overall pregnancy rates, cows injected with trace minerals had a significant change in calving distribution. A greater proportion of cows treated with the injected trace minerals calved in the first 20 days of the calving season (77.5%) compared to the untreated controls (65%).

Under normal grazing conditions the absorption of trace minerals through the rumen is quite poor- manganese ~1%, copper ~5%, zinc ~15% and selenium ~30%. High levels of other minerals in the feed or water such as iron, calcium, molybdenum and sulphur can also cause antagonism in the rumen, binding to the trace minerals and preventing absorption or utilization. Injecting trace minerals like MULTIMIN® 90 avoids these antagonisms and absorption issues and allows the trace minerals to be immediately absorbed into the blood stream.

It is well known that trace mineral demands are not constant throughout the production cycle. For example, trace minerals influence embryonic and fetal survival, and during late pregnancy the fetus accumulates trace minerals in the liver, thereby increasing the trace mineral requirements of the dam. At calving, lactation and increased stress on the immune and reproductive systems leads to increased demand for trace minerals. Trace minerals are essential components of the immune and reproductive systems, mostly due to their roles as metalloenzymes.

Supplementing with injectable trace minerals in the pre-breeding period could improve fertility in your herd by rapidly increasing trace mineral stores in the liver, which could result in a tighter calving distribution pattern. To demonstrate absorption the following graphs show how fast injectable trace minerals show up in the liver (blue area in the graphs).

Remember, injectable trace minerals are not affected by ruminal antagonists.

Calves that were stressed due to recent weaning and shipping exhibited lowered immunity and increased disease susceptibility; therefore, an adequate supply of trace minerals is especially critical in beef cattle receiving diets for stocker cattle. Feed intake is decreased in stressed cattle and the level of certain minerals may need to be increased to compensate for the low feed intake. Furthermore, nutritional status of calves prior to weaning and shipping may greatly influence health problems shortly after shipping. Calves deficient or marginally deficient in certain trace elements are likely to be more susceptible to infectious diseases.  This is why an injection of MULTIMIN® 90 can be beneficial in helping to combat disease; especially when combined with a weaning vaccination protocol. In an interesting study from the University of Arkansas, calves were purchased from auction markets and were evaluated for morbidity and performance in a growyard for 55 days.  Calves that did not receive injectable trace minerals had a first pull rate of 87% compared to 55% for MULTIMIN® 90 treated calves. The third round of morbidity treatments showed that nontreated calves had a 32% pull rate vs. 10% pull rates for calves treated with MULTIMIN® 90.Gains were improved by .38 lbs./day and return on investment was 12 to 1 for MULTIMIN® 90 treated calves.

The use of injectable trace minerals has demonstrated an improvement in reproductive efficiency, rapid uptake by the liver, better immune function and greater return on investment.

Learn more about how MULTIMIN® 90 can support your herd in drought conditions and contact your MULTIMIN® USA Technical Sales Representative.

Alabama Pasture to Rail Program Wigginton Farm

Alabama Pasture to Rail Program

Wigginton Farm

On Tuesday, September 15, 2020, the Wigginton Farm in Somerville, AL was used as the drop off location for Alabama cattle farmers to bring their cattle for shipment to Hy-Plains Feedyard in Montezuma, Kansas. Jim and Kim Jordan of Lineville, AL (30 head) and Heath Lowery of Ashville, AL (11 head), also brought cattle for shipment. By pulling their cattle together for shipment, it cuts down on the costs.

Sheri Chapman, Territory Rep of MULTIMIN® USA and Dr. Dan Tracy, veterinarian, were there to oversee the timed-release injection of each head of cattle with the MULTIMIN® 90.

MULTIMIN® 90 is an injectable, aqueous supplemental source of zinc, copper, selenium, and manganese. It is formulated according to NRC requirements of cattle. Trace minerals are important for reproduction, immunity, and immune response to vaccines. Since stressed animals have decreased appetites, the cattle are injected with MULTIMIN® 90 during transporting and feedlot receiving time.

Alex Tigue, Alabama Pasture to Rail Coordinator from Auburn University Extension Services, was onsite to tag, weigh, and grade the cattle for input into the computer system.

Wigginton Farm cattle were approximately 30-days ahead of schedule this year for heading out west to the Hy-Plains Feedyard in Montezuma, KS. Some of the stocker cattle at 10 months old weighed in at an impressive 1,070lbs.
Pictured from left, Mickey Childers – FSA, Josh Melson – Ag Teacher at Brewer High School, Rance Wigginton, Danny McWilliams – Colbert Co Extension Coordinator, Doug Wigginton, Author Orr – Senator, Alex Tigue – Alabama Pasture to Rail Coordinator, Sheri Chapman – MULTIMIN® USA Territory Rep and Dan Tracy – Veterinarian. Not pictured: Gerry Thompson – Regional Agent Extension Services.

About the Pasture to Rail Program

Alabama Pasture to Rail is  retained ownership program allowing beef producers to collect post-weaning performance data, health data, and carcass data on cattle on cattle from their breeding program. This allows producers to determine whether changes need to be made to the breeding program for post-weaning traits.

Why Participate?

Understanding how calves fit into the entire beef chain is critical for optimal marketing. Obtaining post-weaning and carcass information on calves will allow producers to edit their breeding program and strengthen their position in marketing calves each year.

Southeastern cattle represent 25 percent of the calves being fed in the United States feedlots annually. For most producers, calves are sold a weaning. Because of the U.S. beef industry fragmentation, little to no feedback is provided back to the cow/calf level. However, in the end, a high quality carcass is the most valuable item cow/calf operation producers, but it is the last thing producers are paid for.

As the U.S. beef industry moves forward, the prosperity of the entire industry rests on is customers. IN 2015 beef process were 57 percent higher than pork and 207 percent higher than chicken. The demand for beef has remained strong because customers still want taste. Much of beef’s flavor is enhanced by the amount of marbling in the beef. In early 2015, sales of prime and branded choice beef surpassed sales of select beef for the first time backing up the claim that our customers want taste.


The Alabama Pasture to Rail Program is an education program for cattle producers. The purpose is to give cattle producers the following opportunities without the investment required to finish an entire pen of cattle.

  • To obtain individual animal data for post-weaning performance, health performance, and carcass merit that can be used to assist producers with selection decisions pertaining to existing breeding, nutrition, and health programs.
  • To educate cattle producers on recommended health practices and custom feeding programs.

Additional questions may be directed to Alex Tigue (256) 309-9496

This article has been republished with permission from the Morgan County Soil and Water District Newsletter. View the original publication here.

New Iowa State University Study

Comparison of multiple single-use, pulse-dose trace mineral products provided as injectable, oral drench, oral paste, or bolus on circulating and liver trace mineral concentrations of beef steers



The objective was to determine effects of various trace mineral products on steer plasma and liver trace mineral concentrations.

Materials and Methods

Fifty-six trace mineral adequate Angus-cross steers (303 ± 15.2 kg; n = 8 per treatment) were sorted by BW and administered treatments on d 0: injectable saline (CON), injectable Multimin90 (ITM), Mineral Max Drench (MMD), Mineral Max Paste (MMP), Starting Fluid Drench (SFD), Se365 bolus (Se365), or Reloader250 bolus (Rel250). Steers received a common diet (silage-based diet d 0–49; corn-based diet d 50–122), and individual feed disappearance was recorded. Plasma (0, 8, 24, and 48 h) and liver (−7, 2, 15, 29, 49, 65, 91, and 120 d) were analyzed for Cu, Mn, Se, and Zn.

Results and Discussion

Plasma Zn, Mn, and Se concentrations were affected by treatment × time (P = 0.001); steers given ITM had greater concentrations through 8 h for Zn and 24 h for Mn and Se versus other treatments. Liver Se concentration was greater in ITM versus other treatments through d 15, but Rel250 was greater than ITM and MMP on d 91 and greater than CON, MMD, MMP, and SFD on d 120 (treatment × time; P ≤ 0.001). Liver Mn, Zn, and Cu were affected by time (P ≤ 0.001), where liver Mn concentrations were least on d 2 and increased over time but liver Zn concentrations were greatest on d 2 and least on d 29 to 120.

Implications and Applications

Single-use, pulse-dose products increased circulating trace minerals most quickly as an injection (increasing plasma Mn, Se, Zn) compared with other treatments, whereas liver Se concentrations were increased by injection (through d 29) and Rel250 (by d 91).