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Selko | Dairy Performance

TRACE MINERAL MANAGEMENT

Differences between NRC 2001 and NASEM 2021 dairy trace mineral and vitamin requirements

The key takeaways from this article

  • Requirements for Mn and Zn increased by 20% or 100% in dry or lactating cows
  • Requiremens for Cu decreased by 10-20% in lactating cows but increased by 15% in dry cows
  • Recommendation for Co doubled
  • Recommendations for vitamin A and D increased by 10-20%, for vitamin E by 100-200%
  • It is important to take trace mineral and vitamin levels of basal diet ingredients into account when formulating a dairy ration

The new 2021 NASEM Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle

Since the NRC 2001 Nutrient Requirement for Dairy Cattle were replaced by the 2021 NASEM Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle, during a conference which took place last September 2021, many questions related to “what has changed?” and “what has not changed?” have been asked by professionals in the ruminant nutrition and health industry. Davi Brito De Araujo, Global Trace Mineral Program Manager for Selko Feed Additives, reviews the major differences between the old and the new guidelines. The information that has been reviewed and is presented in five tables that can be found in the document “Differences between NRC 2001 and NASEM 2021 trace mineral and vitamin requirements for of dairy cattle”.

What is new in the 2021 NASEM guidelines for dairy cattle?

Changes to the daily nutrient requirements and the adequate nutrient intake

In the old 2001 NRC Guidelines, many of the key nutrients in dairy cattle were reported without explaining exactly what daily requirements mean. In the current version, two important terminologies are used for trace minerals: firstly, daily nutrient requirement (Req.) is defined as the average nutrient intake estimated to meet the requirements of half of the healthy individual animals in specific gender group and life stage. Secondly, adequate nutrient intake (AI) is defined as the average daily nutrient intake that a group of experts have defined based on limited experiment data. Daily nutrient requirements and adequate nutrient intake are presented in Tables 1 and 2.

Changes to the mineral absorption coefficients

Next to the nutrient requirements and the adequate intakes, the absorption coefficients were also re-evaluated. Changes to trace mineral absorption coefficients in the new NASEM 2021 guidelines compared to the old NRC 2001 guidelines are presented in Table 3.

Comparing models to establish trace mineral and vitamin levels

Nutrient requirements of dairy cows differ according to body weight, average weight gain, milk production, dry matter intake, lactation phase and gestation. Predicted trace minerals and vitamins concentrations that are required on a dry matter basis to meet these requirements therefore also differ. New insights have resulted in changes between the old NRC 2001 and new NASEM 2021 guidelines. The new values are presented in Table 4.

Compared to the old NRC 2001 Guidelines, major changes apply for Mn and Zn, with increases in concentration ranging from 20% to 100% in dry and lactating dairy cows. Major changes also occurred in the required concentrations for Cu which reduced by 10 to 20% in lactating dairy cows and increased by 15% in dry cows. Additionally, Co concentration was set 0.2 mg/kg of DM in the NASEM 2021 guideline, almost double the concentration compared to the previous NRC 2001 guideline.

For vitamins, significant increases of 10 to 20% in were seen in vitamins A and D levels in lactating dairy cows. For vitamin E levels, especially for far-off and close-up dry cows respectively, much larger increases of 100% and 200% were seen.

Feed efficiency of dairy cows is a key driver of dairy farm profitability

Feeding IntelliBond trace minerals improves digestibility of fibre in the diet, enabling cows to produce more milk out of the same amount of feed.

Learn more about how Selko IntelliBond helps to improve fibre digestibility to optimize performance

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Applying these scientific insights regarding trace mineral and vitamin requirements of dairy cows in real world situations.

The decision regarding trace mineral sources to be included in dairy cattle rations is critical to fulfill the requirements suggested in the current NASEM 2021. The source of trace mineral can have major impact on stability of important nutrients in feed, such as probiotics and vitamin A and E. Rumen function and digestibility of fiber and nutrients, bioavailability and environmental compliance can also be significantly different between trace mineral sources. Considering these differences, we strongly suggest moving from less stable and more reactive sources of trace mineral, such as sulphates, to those sources that offer higher stability and bioavailability. Hydroxychloride trace minerals can have a positive impact on dairy cow productivity and health while minimizing any negative impact on the environment.

It is highly recommended to also consider the base level of nutrients in the ingredients of the cow’s diet. Many forages and feedstuffs offer considerable levels of certain trace minerals, such as Fe, Cu, Mn and Zn. By considering these levels, nutritionists and formulators do not only optimize diets and feed formulation to the target performance, but they also reduce cost while adopting higher quality trace mineral sources. In Table 5, estimated levels in basal diets for Cu, Zn and Mn concentration (on a DM basis) are presented as well as levels to be supplemented to meet these trace minerals requirements for lactating dairy cows producing from 30 up to 50 kg milk per day.

Considering 20% as a safety factor to fulfill the requirement of the majority of the animals in a population, a mineral supplement or formula including IntelliBond C, IntelliBond Z and IntelliBond M to deliver 8 mg/kg DM Cu, 40 mg/kg DM Zn and 25 mg/kg DM Mn will be more than enough to support natural cow’s health and performance.

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NRC 2001 vs NASEM 2021 comparison of trace mineral and vitamin requirements for dairy cattle

Since the launch of the 2021 NASEM Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle, which took place last September 2021, many questions related to “what has changed?” and “what has not changed?” have been asked by professionals in the ruminant nutrition and health industry. For your convience this document contains the exact comparison of trace mineral and vitamin requirements.

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