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Q2 Dairy Newsletter

Novus International Green Acres Research Farm

Green Acres is a 95-acre multi-species, multi-functional research facility operated by Novus International, Inc.

A Healthy Gut Translates into Better Animal Performance

By Heather Tucker, PhD
Ruminant Nutrition Research Scientist, Novus International

Supplementing with organic chelated trace minerals positively affects the overall gut health of an animal, leading to benefits beyond cost savings.

The pressure to efficiently and humanely produce food animal products continues to mount. Demands within operations are hyper-focused on profitability, while savvy consumers are more interested than ever in how their food is produced.

Gut health is considered one of the foundations for successful animal production. With benefits not only for productivity reasons, but also for general well-being, gut health affects the body beyond the digestive system. However, poor gut health is difficult to recognize on-farm. This is largely due to subclinical signs of disease not being obvious, leading to depressed production efficiency due to lack of treatment for the underlying gut health challenge.

One example of gut health challenges and a compromised immune system in dairy is a high somatic cell count (SCC). The SCC signals mastitis and is an important indicator of the animal’s overall health. High SCC often leads to lower milk production as mastitis progresses in its development and the signs of sub-clinical infection are missed. As the infection worsens, the potential for reduced profitability increases for the farm. Reducing SCC can lead to a healthier animal, higher yields, less discarded milk and improved farm profitability. One way to bolster the cow’s resistance to mastitis during periods of stress is through proper trace mineral nutrition due to their role in antioxidant enzyme systems and white blood cell function.

Overcome challenges with chelated trace minerals

Diets for high producing dairy cows often include inorganic salts as sources of zinc, copper and manganese. The disadvantage of these inorganic trace mineral sources is the mineral is unprotected from numerous antagonisms and interactions in the digestive tract. As a result, the inorganic mineral can bind to these antagonisms, preventing absorption and increasing excretion. This reduction in mineral absorption can result in continued metabolic deficiencies, reduced animal performance and increased feed cost due to over supplementation. By delivering a source of trace minerals, where the mineral is protected as well as stable across a range of pH environments and resistant to antagonisms, nutritionists can provide cows lower total trace mineral concentrations and still provide optimal nutrition.

If an animal has a trace mineral deficiency, its body cannot optimally protect itself against infections, lowering the animal’s ability to respond to vaccinations. Trace minerals are a critical part of some enzymes involved in general immune system function as well as enzymes involved in oxidative balance. Providing the most trace mineral to the animal is critical for maximizing immune function and maintaining oxidative balance. Deficiencies negatively affect a dairy cow’s immune function and her natural ability to fight off infections. When that happens, the animal is more susceptible to disorders and depressed overall performance occurs. Once way to provide a greater concentration of mineral to the animal it through organic trace minerals (OTMs), a more bioavailable source of zinc, copper, and manganese. OTMs play a critical role in improving antioxidant pathways and maintaining structural integrity of epithelial barriers against infection when compared to inorganic sources.

As mentioned earlier, in order for trace minerals to be utilized to their full capacity in ruminants, they must be helped to bypass the rumen to allow for absorption in the hindgut. One of the ways to protect a trace mineral from ruminal degradation is by chelating it to an organic ligand, such as HMTBa. This organic ligand minimized the ability of the ruminal microbial community to use the trace mineral as well as lessens the minerals interaction with antagonisms in the rumen. When the HMTBa ligand separates from the metal, the HMTBa is absorbed and contributes to the methionine pool of the animal, providing amino acid activity for nutritional use, while the mineral is absorbed and can be utilized for various processes by the animal.

Novus offers this solution in MINTREX® chelated trace minerals. The rumen escape or passage value of MINTREX has been determined to be on average 55 percent. The MINTREX line of trace minerals delivers minerals in a guaranteed molecule that uses the methionine analogue component of ALIMET® feed supplement, HMTBa, as the organic ligand. Each mineral – zinc, manganese or copper – is bound to two molecules of HMTBa by two coordinate covalent bonds each. The bonds between the two HMTBa molecules and mineral form two ring structures, which enhance the stability of the product in the gastrointestinal tract of the animal.

Proven results

A trial of 26 Holstein cows in early lactation measured the effects of supplementing MINTREX versus inorganic trace minerals (sulfates). Results showed that cows fed MINTREX had increased antibody titers response to the rabies vaccination, which is a sign of improved immunity.


An experiment was conducted to determine the rumen escape of HMTBa in the MINTREX molecule. The experimental approach was to provide MINTREX Zn as a pulse dose into the rumen simulating consumption or as an iso-methionine pulse dose through the omasal canal into the abomasum simulating 100 percent bypass. Plasma concentration of HMTBa and methionine were measured over time.


In the following study, MINTREX replaced 100% of the ITM in the diet and though no differences in yield or components were observed, somatic cell count was lowered suggesting improved udder health. One hundred cows were utilized for each treatment.


Announcing MINTREX® Packaging Change

Novus is pleased to announce a packaging change for MINTREX Zn, MINTREX Cu and MINTREX Mn from the existing paper bag to a new polywoven bag. This change will not affect product prices or specifications but has been rolled out to increase bag quality, strength and longevity.

Product is now being bagged in the new polywoven bags in Little Rock, Arkansas, at our MINTREX plant. Expect to see the new bags in your warehouse over the next two months as inventory of product in the paper bags depletes at our warehouses throughout the U.S.

We apologize if this causes any inconvenience but feel you will appreciate the new bag. If you have any questions about this packaging change, please contact your local Novus sales representative or our customer service team at 800-568-0088.

Novus Is With You When It Matters!

Novus represented our dedication to providing products based in science at JAM 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah! Several of our Novus researchers presented brand new research during the daily sessions, including new research on utilizing ruminally protected methionine in lactating dairy cows, the effect on production level and parity on response to milk fat utilizing methionine-HMTBa, and the bioavailability of different zinc sources in Holstein calves from Dr. Heather Tucker. Our ruminant sales team was able to discuss with customers, industry producers, as well as students from around the world strategies for overcoming industry challenges and utilizing Novus products. Celebrating our 25th Anniversary at Squatters Brewery was a great success with our customers and industry partners. Getting to share our experiences and passion with the Novus family for the last 25 years was a great joy. The Novus crew thanks YOU, our customers, for 25 years of business and is looking forward to continuing our business partnership for the next 25 years and beyond. We hope to see you next year!

Getting to Know William Seymour


Dr. William Seymour is responsible for the management of technical support for primarily ruminant team members and independent agents throughout the US. As a liaison among Novus sales, marketing and research teams, he helps train sales staff, develops technical marketing materials and is involved with product development

Prior to joining Novus in 2014, Will managed ruminant and nutrition research as well as provided field technical services for Southern States Cooperative, Inc. He was responsible for multi-species feed formulation and product integrity, and supervised the formulation staff. He also taught professional animal science training programs for the company’s technical services representatives.

Will has held technical marketing management, nutritionist and research roles throughout his 25+ year career at companies such as Roche Vitamins Inc., Tennessee Farmers’ Cooperative and Agway, Inc. He also spent time as a regulatory affairs manager for DSM Nutritional Products, Inc., where he was responsible for U.S. Food and Drug Administration submissions for animal feed additives.

Will is a past president of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists and has published several peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Dairy Science and other publications. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University, and his master’s in Dairy Science and doctorate in Animal Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University while on a John Lee Pratt Animal Nutrition Scholarship.