For many suckler herd owners, spring calving will get under way in February and March. Therefore, herd owners should be introducing pre-calving minerals from early to mid-January and feeding them during the final six- to eight-weeks of gestation.

Feeding pre-calving minerals can help cut down on common problems at calving time. This include cows holding the placenta after the calf is born, as well as calves being slow to stand and suck.

Pre-calving minerals can be fed in multiple forms, either dusted over silage, in lick buckets or as a bolus. When dusting minerals on silage, aim to give cows at least 150g/head daily.

Look for a mineral with high levels of iodine, selenium and vitamin E. It should also be a good source of magnesium, but low in calcium. This reduces the risk of milk fever, which can be common in cows with high milking ability.

Having cows penned according to calving date makes feeding minerals much easier to manage. This way, you can delay introducing minerals to the cows calving in late spring.

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