Feed the correct level of trace minerals to optimise dairy performance while minimising the environmental impact
Feeding the correct level of minerals to dairy cows is important for sustainable dairy farming because it is critical to overall health and performance of dairy cows. Correct mineral nutrition of dairy cows is also essential to minimise the environmental footprint of dairy farming. Modern dairy cows have a higher genetic merit, increased levels of production and higher levels of metabolic stress. Next go that, soil balances, crop varieties and fertilisers are changing. Lastly, over use of trace minerals raises environmental concerns. Dairy cows need at least 15 different minerals for good health and productivity (see Figure 1). For this reason, most discussions surrounding mineral use in dairy diets are centred on the consequences of under-supply and the potential impact of deficiencies on production, health and reproductive performance of dairy cows. As a result, the conversation will soon move to additional supplements.