Getting your sheep into the best possible condition before they enter their most challenging times of the year – pre-tupping or post-scanning – is crucial, says Tom Darling from Agrimin.
“At these key times, sheep need all the help they can get to achieve optimum body condition at the very beginning of their seasonal task,” he says, highlighting the need to get the correct balance of available minerals into the body.
“Any shortfalls will have long-term effects on the ewes’ health, and will have a knock-on effect on overall profitability too,” he explains.
Trace element management has been shown to have a beneficial and significant effect on ewe health. More and more farmers are checking the mineral status of their soils, or blood testing their flock, with a lot of livestock farms showing cobalt and selenium problems, and many experiencing iodine issues too.
The Agrimin 24·7 Smartrace bolus is a gentle, but certain, way of making sure all essential minerals are delivered safely, regardless of farm or animal status. And, getting the minerals directly into the rumen, ensures the right amounts are delivered over a 180-day period.
“A key benefit is that that the ewe is only handled once,” says Tom. “And it’s a 100 per cent accurate way of knowing the correct application is given. Other ways of mineral supplementation involve a hit and miss approach – and don’t guarantee each ewe getting the same application. Bolusing post-scanning is becoming increasingly popular, and we’ve seen some great results with resultant lambing percentages.
“Once done, you don’t handle the ewe again, minimising stress at this time, and also meaning the ewe has a guaranteed level of minerals released into her body to maintain her lamb/lambs during the following months when they’re growing inside the womb,
“It also means the best quality colostrum is delivered to the lambs immediately after birth, and this continues in the mainstream milk leading up to weaning time,” he adds.
“Furthermore, once it’s in the rumen the bolus gently erodes, slowing releasing the minerals into the bloodstream on a daily basis: something important as neither cobalt or iodine can be stored in the body.”
“At the same time, the bolus leaves no residue, and there’s no need for a withdrawal period – again giving peace of mind that you’ve helped as much as you can in preparing the animal for the task ahead,” says Tom.
Giving a bolus is simple and straightforward, but the following steps are recommended:
- Hold the animal firmly to safely restrain its head
- Lift the head up, stretching the neck, to create the best angle before inserting the Agriminapproved applicator
- Place the applicator into the mouth
- Squeeze the handle of the applicator over the back of the tongue
- Hold the animal for a few seconds, until the bolus has been safely delivered before releasing
Each 48g bolus delivers a daily supply of 0.8mg cobalt, 4.2mg iodine and 0.4mg selenium. It’s free from copper, so is suitable for continental breeds as well, and complies with EU organic regulations. It comes in packs of 50 and is available from vets and distributors.