Investigations of the severity, extent, type and treatment of copper deficiency in beef cattle in northwestern Manitoba

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Drysdale, Robert Andrew
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Blood serum, forage and soil samples were collected from beef cattle of forty-four herds in the North West agricultural region of Manitoba. Copper deficiency was identified in all herds and related to low copper and/or excessive molybdenum in the pasture forages. The forages also indicated a potential zinc and manganese deficiency in the cattle at these locations. The low concentrations of copper, zinc and manganese in the forages were attributed to low content of copper and zinc and to low availability of copper, zinc and manganese in the soil. Parenteral administration of copper glycinate at the start of the pasture season was insufficient to affect weight gains or to maintain normal serum copper values during the grazing period. A soil and forage survey was undertaken in the agriculturally productive area of the North West region. Differences in nutrient concentrations were identified among forage types. The forage analyses confirmed potential primary deficiencies of copper, zinc and manganese in relation to cattle production. Elevated molybdenum levels were identified in legumes throughout the region and in grasses confined to the soils derived from the shale bearing Ashville, Favel, Vermillion River and Riding Mountain Geologic Formations. Supplementation of cooper, zinc and manganese is indicated for cattle in northwestern Manitoba and other areas of the province with similar geologic factors.