The effect of trace mineral fortification level and source on performance of dairy cattle

J Dairy Sci. 2006 Jul;89(7):2679-93. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(06)72344-X.


Five hundred seventy-three cows, balanced by parity and 305-d mature equivalent at dry off, were assigned to 1 of 4 treatments: 1) 75% complexed trace minerals (CTM; 75C): Zn, Mn, Cu, and Co supplied at 75% of NRC (2001) guidelines by Zn-, Mn-, and Cu-specific AA complexes, and cobalt glucoheptonate; 2) 100% inorganic (100I): Zn, Mn, Cu, and Co supplied at 100% of NRC (2001) requirements by sulfate sources; 3) 100% complexed (100C): Zn, Mn, Cu, and Co supplied at 100% of NRC (2001) requirements by CTM; and 4) complexed/ inorganic (C/I): Zn and Cu supplied at 100% of NRC (2001) requirements using a combination of CTM and sulfates and Co and Mn supplied with sources at 9.1 and 3.3 times NRC (2001) requirements using a combination of CTM and sulfates. All percentages of Zn, Cu, Mn, and Co relative to NRC (2001) reflect supplemental contributions and do not include basal diet contributions. Experimental periods were dry period 1, full lactation 1, dry period 2, and 200 d into the subsequent lactation. Reproductive, health, and production information was collected during both lactations. Claw evaluations were conducted at trial start, 150 d into lactation 1, at the end of lactation 1, and 150 d into lactation 2. During lactation 1, C/I cows produced more milk, fat-corrected milk, energy-corrected milk, and fat than 100I cows. During lactation 2, yields of milk, fat-corrected milk, energy-corrected milk, fat, and protein were higher for 100C and C/I cows than for 75C or 100I cows. Fat percentage was highest for 100C cows with no treatment effect on protein content. During lactations 1 and 2, C/I cows had fewer days to first estrus than cows receiving the other treatments. During lactation 2, C/ I cows had fewer services per conception and days open. There were no significant effects of treatment on health. White line separation incidence was lower for 100I cows than 75C cows, whereas heel erosion was higher for the 100I cows than for the C/I cows. Fortification of trace elements with inorganic and complexed sources at or above NRC requirements improved reproductive and productive performance. In addition, cows can be supplemented with CTM at 75% of NRC requirements with no reduction in performance compared with supplementing at 100% of NRC requirements using only sulfate sources of Zn, Mn, Cu, and Co.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Animals
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cobalt / administration & dosage
  • Cobalt / analysis
  • Copper / administration & dosage
  • Copper / analysis
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Eating
  • Estrus
  • Female
  • Foot Diseases / epidemiology
  • Foot Diseases / veterinary
  • Health Status
  • Hoof and Claw
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Manganese / administration & dosage
  • Manganese / analysis
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Trace Elements / administration & dosage*
  • Zinc / administration & dosage
  • Zinc / analysis


  • Trace Elements
  • Cobalt
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Zinc