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Most mineral deficiencies fall into two general categories:
  • A STRAIGHT deficiency
  • AN INDUCED deficiency
Most deficiencies are induced and seldom come in "single" deficiencies.


Cattle and sheep need at least 15 minerals to be happy and healthy. Generally element [trace] deficiencies in animals are seasonal and therefore can "sneak up" on you. However, when you first notice a mineral deficiency, it has often been developing for a long period often unnoticed [subclinical] before the visible [clinical] deficiency become apparent.

Seasonal deficiencies can be a result of a combination of:

  1. low elemental status of the soil,
  2. reduced concentration of the trace element in the pasture,
  3. the pasture composition [has N been used],
  4. the animal's selection of plant species,
  5. antagonism with one or more elements at a soil, plant or animal level,
  6. increasing demands on animals due to growth, pregnancy or lactation,
  7. low body reserves of the element i.e. in the liver or kidneys [time factor] &
  8. the inability for the animal to access a supplement of the element[s],
  9. the extended length of time spent in a "deficient" pasture,
  10. observed deficiency identified in animals.
As you can now see -
A mineral deficiency has often been a while developing, but unnoticed!

Animals that are growing [& milking] have higher needs for minerals and are also at a higher risk to mineral deficiencies. These include:

  • rapidly growing young stock i.e. lambs / calves and in-calf heifers etc.
  • ewes & cows in calf or milking
  • rams & bulls also need extra zinc.
Cattle on pasture can encounter excesses in elements like:
  • Potassium
  • Sodium / Chlorine
  • Manganese
  • Boron [especially very close to the sea]
What to look out for in mineral deficiencies.
Cattle on pasture can encounter deficiencies in major elements like:
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Phosphorous.
In the trace elements deficiencies can include:
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • occasionally Cobalt.
The information contained in this publication has been formulated in good faith, the contents do not take into account all the factors which need to be considered before putting that information into practice. Accordingly, no person should rely on anything contained herein as a substitute for specific professional advice.
S.O.S. Rev 9.2 All rights reserved. Contact: www.healthyag.com © Gwyn Jones 2001

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