Health Care

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Trace Elements in Dairy Cattle

Most farmers have well-managed trace element programmes for their dairy herds, and these work well for the majority of the year. However, during high demand periods (i.e. calving and mating) even well-supplemented herds can temporarily slip into a slight trace element deficiency.

MULTIMIN® is an injectable source of zinc, copper, selenium and manganese. It safely and rapidly boosts the levels of these trace elements in cattle and deer, and is best administered prior to high demand periods.

Isn't supplementing with trace elements normally associated with improving growth rates and milk production?

While we’ve traditionally focussed on improving growth rates and milk production through supplementation, we now understand that trace elements have roles throughout multiple body systems, and are more important than previously thought. The focus is now on the less obvious (but equally important) gains in fertility and immunity that can be achieved. Most importantly, we have the confidence of local research with MULTIMIN®, to put numbers behind how much of an effect on health and fertility can be expected on NZ farms.

Will MULTIMIN® reduce disease in adult dairy cows?

The biggest peak of disease in dairy cows is around calving, as the immune system is compromised by the stress of this period. A recently completed study looked at the effect of MULTIMIN® given 2-4 weeks pre-calving. We saw a halving of clinical mastitis, which is a similar response to the effect on disease in calves. There was also a 25% reduction in subclinical mastitis (cows over 150,000 at first herd test).

I think I do a good job of my repro, and there are plenty of products telling me they will get my cows in calf easier. Why should I use MULTIMIN®?

There’s good science behind the four trace elements in MULTIMIN®, backed up by research in local conditions. The original study showed that using MULTIMIN® in herds already performing well and with normal trace element levels lowered empty rates by nearly 3%. This has been repeated in thousands of cows in different regions – most recently a 2% increase in 6 week in-calf rate was seen.

It’s true that there are many options to improve in-calf rates. Which makes following the evidence and using products and sources of information that you and your vet can trust even more important.

With studies showing a benefit in NZ conditions for both pre-calving and pre-mating use, which option should we be using?

Both studies showed a good return for the investment in MULTIMIN®, with the reduction in mastitis from a pre-calving injection returning about $4.00 for every dollar spent. The pre-mating numbers are actually even stronger, with an estimated return of over 5:1.

At face value the pre-mating injection makes a better financial case. However there are some intangible benefits from reduced mastitis, such as lower antibiotic use and less time spent on handling sick mobs.

There is good justification for both options, so the decision on which to use comes down to where you most want to make a difference.

Is MULTIMIN® for herds with high empty rates and lots of mastitis?

In fact, we’ve found the opposite in our studies. The best outcomes are seen in well-managed herds that have low levels of disease and good mating results, with normal trace element levels. The herds with major problems would most likely get more benefit from spending their money on consultancy and changing management practices.

Based on the evidence from local research, the main targets are farms that are already doing most things well, and are looking for further improvement.

How do I use MULTIMIN®?

MULTIMIN® should be administered by subcutaneous injection only, at the below dosage recommendations. No milk or meat withholding periods are required when used as directed.

  • Cattle (1-2 years): 1 ml/75 kg.
  • Cattle (over 2 years): 1 ml/100 kg.


To learn more about MULTIMIN® visit or ask your vet.

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