Trace minerals are essential to body function, but are only required in very small amounts per day. These minerals may make up only a small portion of an animal’s diet but play an important role in everyday life, especially for the key functions of growth, reproduction and immune defence. Present in the soil to varying degrees, trace minerals are taken up by plants and then absorbed by livestock when consumed.
Copper, selenium, manganese, zinc, and cobalt are among the most important trace minerals in livestock. However they are amongst the most common mineral deficiencies in cattle in Australia1,2. Supplementation is an important part of any animal health management plan to manage these trace minerals for optimum health and performance.Vitamin B12 is important for energy production in ruminants. Normally cobalt is taken up through the diet and converted to B12 by rumen micro-organisms. If cobalt levels are low in pasture, B12 levels can fall and this can limit energy available for body processes.