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

 

Media: Julian Wilcox Leaves Māori TV

Māori Television has confirmed the resignation of Head of News and Production Julian Wilcox. Mr Maxwell acknowledged Mr Wilcox’s significant contribution to Māori Television since joining the organisation in 2004. More>>

ALSO:

Genetics: New Heat Tolerant Cow Developed

Hamilton, New Zealand-based Dairy Solutionz Ltd has led an expert genetics team to develop a new dairy cow breed conditioned to thrive in lower elevation tropical climates and achieve high milk production under heat stress. More>>

Fractals: Thousands More Business Cards Needed To Build Giant Sponge

New Zealand is taking part in a global event this weekend to build a Menger Sponge using 15 million business cards but local organisers say they are thousands of business cards short. More>>

Scoop Business: NZ Net Migration Rises To Annual Record In September

New Zealand’s annual net migration rose to a record in September, beating government forecasts, as the inflow was spurred by student arrivals from India and Kiwis returning home from Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fletcher To Close Its Christchurch Insulation Plant, Cut 29 Jobs

Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s largest listed company, will close its Christchurch insulation factory, as it consolidates its Tasman Insulations operations in a “highly competitive market”. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Novartis Adds Nine New Treatments Under Pharmac Deal

Novartis New Zealand, the local unit of the global pharmaceuticals firm, has added nine new treatments in a far-ranging agreement with government drug buying agency, Pharmac. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Wary On Tax Take, Could Threaten Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning the tax take may come in below forecast in the current financial year, as figures released today confirm it was short by nearly $1 billion in the year to June 30 and English warned of the potential impact of slumping receipts from agricultural exports. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news