Shropshire Star

Forage quality concerns after heavy rainfall

Relentless heavy rainfall in recent months has raised concerns about forage quality because of mineral leaching from the soil, experts have said.

Soil leaching causes iodine deficiency

Iodine in particular – an essential micronutrient required by cattle – has been lost as a result, and nutrition specialists at Nettex suggest this could compromise animal health.

Nettex’s Emily Hall said: “Whether grazing cattle later in the spring or making silage, we’re encouraging farmers to test grassland soils to ascertain if vital minerals have been lost.

“Should this be the case then our EnduraBol High Iodine bolus will compensate for deficiencies in this key mineral, as well as vitamins A, D and E, and any identified shortfalls in copper, cobalt, selenium, manganese, and zinc.”

According to NADIS (The National Animal Disease Information Service), iodine is essential as a constituent of the thyroid hormones, in particular T3 and T4, and 80 percent of the iodine in the body is found in the thyroid gland. “An iodine deficiency is linked to thyroid enlargement, calves being stillborn, and iodine deficiencies have also been implicated in poor growth rates, poor milk production and retained placenta,” said Ms Hall.

Soil health is the main contributor to iodine losses and heavy rainfall that causes surface run off, and soil degradation, has left many parts of the UK at risk.

“A bolus is a cost-effective and easy way to mitigate nutrient deficiencies to protect animal health when soil and the forage quality has been compromised. We suggest farmers act now to provide livestock with the nutrients needed to improve health and yield,” said Ms Hall.

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