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Q1 Canada Ruminant Newsletter

Celebrating 25 Years: Helping Feed Tomorrow

Maximize the Breeding Season


Get the most from your trace mineral program with chelated trace minerals

Trace minerals play a significant role in most bodily functions, including enzyme and hormone activity which support reproductive function. Trace minerals are also important for minimizing early embryonic mortality.

The roles of trace minerals in reproduction include:

  1. Hormone production primarily via enzymes required for cholesterol production
  2. Aid in release of gonadotropic hormones
  3. Proper sperm production and function
  4. Key components of enzymes that maintain and repair uterine and follicular tissues
  5. Key components of antioxidant enzymes that detoxify free radicals

Deficiency in trace minerals such as copper, manganese and zinc have been reported to depress estrous, decrease fertility, and cause abnormal fetal development. However, proper trace mineral nutrition can increase the number of cows bred in the first heat cycle, shortening calving intervals and eventually increasing weaning weights by as much as 50 percent. This is especially important in first calf heifers since they are still maturing. First calf heifers have higher nutritional requirements, so it pays to meet their nutrition needs differently.

Unfortunately, traditional inorganic trace minerals have low natural bioavailability and absorption in the animal. Therefore, they must be supplemented to meet the animal’s requirements and enhance reproductive efficiency. The highly bioavailable GLYTREX® and MINTREX® chelated trace minerals from Novus have been shown to enhance reproductive performance.

The objective of an on-farm trial in Wisconsin was to determine if feeding MINTREX chelated trace minerals would help increase conception rates in a beef cattle herd that had been struggling. The herd’s ration was supplemented with free-choice MINTREX for nearly six months. Palpation results showed a 97 percent conception rate for the first calf heifers (an increase of nearly 10 percent), even when under the stress of first calf birth, milking and continued growth while becoming pregnant during a hot and dry summer.1

Fertility problems with the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Beef Cattle Center herd were found to be caused by a copper deficiency. As a result of the findings, the herd was placed on a free-choice mineral program with GLYTREX chelated trace minerals included. Subsequent blood profile data confirmed the copper deficiency was corrected and performance improved.2

Later, the OSU Beef Cattle Center conducted a trial to determine if a more bioavailable source of minerals could help improve first calf heifer breeding performance, which usually lags behind that of mature cows. The herd’s first calf heifers were divided into two groups that were supplemented with either inorganic trace minerals or a combination of inorganic and GLYTREX chelated trace minerals. Heifers supplemented with GLYTREX showed significantly more estrus activity (185 percent more heifers in heat) and had 286 percent more first service conceptions for heifers exhibiting estrus than those supplemented with inorganic minerals.2


  1. Internal Novus Field Trial: Proof it Pays to use MAAC Minerals for Improved Health and Reproduction.
  2. Kropp, J.R. 1990. Oklahoma State University Beef Breeding Trial. Animal Science Research Report.

Redefining Class…of Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are divided into two categories, inorganic (ITM) and organic (OTM). Organic minerals are best described as minerals such as zinc, copper and manganese that are chemically bonded with an organic molecule such as a protein, amino acid, organic acid or carbohydrate. The type of organic molecule and the way it is bonded defines the class of OTM within the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The most effective trace minerals are able to avoid dietary antagonisms and thus provide a more useable mineral. Many organic minerals available on the market fail to achieve these goals.

Inorganic mineral salts are poorly absorbed. According to the National Research Council (NRC), absorption rates of mineral salts are reported to be as low as 1-5 percent. Organic minerals are much more bioavailable, depending on how they are manufactured. Quality organic minerals have improved stability in the digestive system and are less likely to encounter interferences from antagonistic minerals, fiber and phytates.

The characteristics that differentiate organic minerals are:

  1. The type of ligand (organic molecule) the metal is attached to
  2. The type of bonds between the ligand and the mineral

There are six different classes of OTMs within AAFCO, each of which offers different levels of quality, bioavailability and stability. The different classes include: metal methionine hydroxyl analogue chelate, metal amino acid chelate, specific metal amino acid complexes, non-specific metal amino acid complexes, metal proteinates and metal polysaccharide complexes. It is important to understand the different categories and benefits in order to get the most value from your trace mineral supplementation program.

Novus Is With You When It Matters!

In early June, Novus hosted its 11th annual Novus Dairy Nutrition Symposium in Seneca Falls, New York. Dr. Mike van Amburgh reviewed amino acid nutrition and the impacts on calf immunity and Dr. Jeff Hall reviewed his research on analyzing trace mineral status in the animal and how understanding current status can impact an animal’s production. Novus’s Dr. Karen Luchterhand shared her research on managing environmental stress in transition cows and how Novus is applying this information to expand the Novus C.O.W.S. Program. Finally, Dr. Jennifer Garrett joined us again to share further information on her findings in using communication and learning styles to affect and implement changes on the dairy. Each speaker shared some insightful information and challenged the audience to think more critically about their nutrition programs during this challenging economic time. To download the full proceedings, click here.

Getting to Know Heather Tucker, PhD

Heather Tucker_v2

Research Scientist, Ruminant Nutrition

Heather Tucker is the Research Scientist for Ruminant Nutrition at Novus International, Inc. In this role, she works with collaborators on research to support products for the ruminant market. In addition, she conducts research at Green Acres Farm to evaluate new applications of products. Heather works with technical and sales teams to ensure that the research conducted is applicable and relevant to customers and to each industry.

Heather joined Novus in 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from the University of New Hampshire. From there, she earned her Masters in Dairy Science from Virginia Tech and her PhD in Animal Science from Purdue University. Afterwards, Heather was a post-doctorate researcher at Miner Institute, where she conducted industry funded research trials to evaluate the efficacy of amino acid and protein products for lactating dairy cows.

Research Focus

The North America technical service team, along with some of the sales and marketing team members, are looking forward to seeing many of you in Salt Lake City, Utah, for JAM this July 19 – 23. This year at the meetings we have some great new research being presented across our key product platforms. Additionally, we will be hosting a cocktail reception on Wednesday evening, July 20 to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Visit our website, www.novusint.com for more information on the research being presented.

Thursday, 7:15 a.m.: Relative availability for lactating dairy cattle of methionine from two sources of ruminally protected methionine.
Thursday, 7:15 a.m.: Bioavailability of different sources of zinc using stable isotopes in male Holstein calves.
Thursday, 1:00 p.m.: Reproductive development of rotationally grazed beef heifers when supplemented chelated trace minerals.

Oral Presentations:
Wednesday, 10:30 a.m: Relative availability for lactating dairy cattle of methionine from two sources of ruminally protected methionine.