Reducing minerals consumption in livestock is essential in order to make future animal husbandry possible – this was the take home message of a special meeting organised by animal nutrition company Novus International.
In a symposium, organised in Hanover, Germany during EuroTier, the company invited Dr Age Jongbloed, Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands, to speak about his findings and experiences in relation to livestock’s excretion of heavy metals and their effect on the environment. Since the Netherlands have always been a densely populated area, it is likely that negative side effects of animal production are felt the strongest in areas like these.
He indicated that although levels of zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) have already come down considerably from the levels in the early eighties, still too much is left on the fields, which crops simply do not absorb.
Having alternatives like adjustment of animal nutrition available, he said it seems logical the industry would move in this direction.
Novus International recently gained marketing authority in the European Union for its chelated mineral product Mintrex, which is available for zinc, manganese and copper. Dr Jim Richards, attached to the American company, headquartered in St Louis, Missouri, summed up additional advantages of the bioavailable zinc product apart from a reduction in excretion.
Several tests in pigs and poultry production, he said, also revealed that the product helps improve e.g. feet quality in poultry (less lesions) and helps sows perform better during farrowing – less removals could be seen, better farrowing rates, and more piglets born.
The product has been available for the US market for several years now.