Effects of a long-acting, trace mineral, reticulorumen bolus on range cow productivity and trace mineral profiles

J. E. Sprinkle, S. P. Cuneo, H. M. Frederick, R. M. Enns, D. W. Schafer, G. E. Carstens, S. B. Daugherty, T. H. Noon, B. M. Rickert, C. Reggiardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The objectives were to determine if strategic supplementation of range cows with a long-acting (6 mo), trace mineral, reticulorumen bolus containing Cu, Se, and Co would: (1) increase cow BCS and BW, and calf birth, weaning, and postweaning weights, or weight per day of age (WDA); (2) increase liver concentrations of Cu or Zn in cows, or blood Se, Cu, or Zn concentrations in cows and calves; and (3) vary by cow breed for any of these response variables. There were 192 control and 144 bolused Composite cows (C; 25% Hereford, Angus, Gelbevieh, and Senepol or Barzona); 236 control and 158 bolused Hereford (H) cows; and 208 control and 149 bolused Brahman cross (B) cows used in a 3-yr experiment. Cows were weighed and scored for body condition in January, May, and September, and all bolused cows received boluses in January. Each year, from among the 3 breed groups a subset of 15 control and 15 bolused cows (n = 90) had samples obtained in January and May for liver Cu and Zn, blood Se, and serum Cu and Zn. As for cows, blood and serum from the calves of these cows were sampled each year in May and September for Cu, Se, and Zn. There was a significant breed × year × treatment interaction (P = 0.001) for cow weight loss from January to May. CalfWDA, weaning, and postweaning weights did not differ (P > 0.40) between bolused and control cows, but there was a significant (P = 0.022) breed × year × treatment interaction for birth weight. Liver Cu was deficient (<75 ppm; P < 0.001) in control cows and adequate (>75 to 90 ppm) for bolused cows. Liver Cu differed by year (P < 0.001). Blood Se was adequate (>0.1 ppm) for all cows except in January 2001 and 2002. There was no difference (P > 0.50) in blood Se between treatment groups in January, but bolused cows had greater (P < 0.01) blood Se in May. Breed differences for blood Se concentrations existed for bolused cows, with B having greater (P < 0.05) blood Se than either C or H cows. Breed differences also existed for control cows, with H having less blood Se (P < 0.04) than B or C cows. Calves from bolused cows had greater blood Se than calves from control cows (P = 0.01). Supplementation via a long-acting trace mineral bolus was successful in increasing liver Cu in cows and blood Se in cows and calves, but the responses varied by year. Bolus administration had variable effects on BW change in early lactation, depending on breed and year, which may indicate the need for breed- and year-specific supplementation programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1439-1453
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Beef cattle
  • Breed
  • Copper
  • Mineral
  • Range
  • Selenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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