Growth checks post weaning are a major factor affecting Daily Live Weight Gain (DLWG) in lambs, as it’s almost impossible to recover this lost performance later on. This devalues final carcase prices, as well as providing a knock on effect leading to longer finishing times. The majority of UK grazing is cobalt deficient, especially if liming practices have been used, so ensuring this important trace element is not forgotten could help aid in lamb performance.
Jonathan Stephens farms in partnership with his parents in Devon, and has found that grassland management is key, especially keeping a close eye on trace elements, to finish 1500 lambs and 400 store cattle all on grass. “You can’t get too complacent, we use clover friendly fertilisers and keep trace element levels correct. It’s extremely hard to fixate cobalt into the ground and ensure optimum levels. “Cobalt is one of the main reasons why lambs don’t grow as quickly as people like, it’s an important trace element for finishing.
“We use Nettex Cob-I-Sel bolus’s to balance trace elements and find this has improved the lamb’s feed efficiency. We give the bolus to lambs at weaning, which stops the growth check and helps during the transitional period. “The bolus is so small it doesn’t damage the lamb’s mouth, and you don’t want that as it stops them eating grass. We only give one bolus at weaning, and this seems to see them through.”