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FACTORS AFFECTING THE TRACE MINERAL STATUS OF FEEDER CALVES
Larry L. Berger, Ph.D.
University of Illinois
The vast majority of beef calves are born in the spring and sold in the fall as feeder calves. The process of weaning, shipping, and adjustment to a feedlot environment exposes the calves to numerous stressors. This stress often reduces feed and water intakes and increases their susceptibility to respiratory tract and other infectious disease.
Zinc, copper, selenium and to lesser extents manganese and cobalt have been shown to play an important role in maximizing the immune response of cattle. Therefore, the trace mineral status of feeder calves prior to shipment can have a major impact on the health and profitability of cattle once they are in the feedlot.
The purpose of this paper is to summarize a series of articles from University of Missouri researchers evaluating factors affecting the zinc, copper and selenium status of spring-born Missouri feeder calves.