Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Cobalt required for lamb growth

Media release
 
7 October 2009
 
Cobalt required for lamb growth
 
Good pasture growth through the spring months could disguise a chemical deficiency that will hold back the growth rates of weaned lambs.
 
Jeff Morton, a Ballance Agri-Nutrients technical advisor in the South Island, says cobalt is a key factor in healthy lamb growth after weaning and can be applied along with any spring maintenance fertiliser.
 
‘Keeping an eye on cobalt levels in weaned lambs plays a big part in securing their growth rates,’ advises Jeff.
 
Jeff says low cobalt content in pasture can cause lambs to be deficient in vitamin B12, which is vital for their healthy growth past weaning.
 
‘The degree of deficiency will vary from year to year. In a spring with rapid pasture growth, the cobalt taken up from the soil will be diluted and there will be less cobalt-containing clover in the sward.
 
‘So if we are lucky enough to get a “growthy” spring, then it is a good idea to sample mixed pasture in late spring before weaning.’
 
Jeff’s practice is to select 4-6 paddocks per farm for testing. The results will determine the best course of remedial action.
 
‘If the cobalt content is below 0.08 ppm then cobalt will limit lamb growth through insufficient vitamin B12. In this case the best option will be to inject lambs with a vitamin B12 injection.
 
‘At the first lamb draft, the vitamin B12 content in the liver should be tested at the processing plant through the Optigro scheme. If the liver vitamin B12 levels are low or marginal, this will confirm the low pasture cobalt levels.
 
‘At each lamb draft, the liver testing should be continued and if necessary, the remaining lambs should be injected with vitamin B12 at monthly intervals.’
 
Cobalt can also be applied to pasture as a liquid, but the issue can be resolved simply by mixing granular cobalt with whatever maintenance fertiliser is being broadcast in the late spring.
 
While most farmers make their main application of fertiliser in the autumn, this is not the right time to apply cobalt, says Jeff.
 
‘You have to get the timing right. October and November are the best months for cobalt application to resolve any growth issues with young lambs.’
 
The deficiency signs in lambs are relatively easy to spot, says Jeff, with afflicted lambs exhibiting impaired growth rate and wool growth, along with signs of anaemia in severe cases.
 
‘You can see there’s something wrong. Often the lambs have crusty ears and watery eyes as well.’
 
Jeff says cobalt has two main functions. It's needed for the rhizobia that fix nitrogen and it is vital for the formation of vitamin B12 in ruminant stock. But there is always sufficient for the rhizobia in the soil.
 
‘The higher the stocking rate, the more demand there is for cobalt.’
 
In New Zealand, four regions are particularly vulnerable to cobalt deficiency. They are:
Northland's highly weathered and sandy soils
The rhyolitic ash-based yellow-brown pumice soils of the Central Plateau
Nelson's granite-derived yellow-brown earth soils
The leached yellow-brown soils derived from sedimentary rocks in Southland.
 
‘Lambs are most susceptible in late spring-summer in the North Island and summer-autumn in the South Island.’
 
ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

R18: The Warehouse Group Praised For Removing Games

The decision by New Zealand’s largest retailer The Warehouse Group (TW Group), to withdraw stocks of the latest version of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) and other R18 games, has been praised by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation. More>>

ALSO:

Air NZ Wine Awards: Victory For Villa Maria As Pinot Noir Thrills

It was a night to remember as Villa Maria Estate picked up one of the highest accolades of the evening, the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy, at the 28th Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough ... More>>

ALSO:

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news