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MINTREX® Trace Minerals and Reproduction Value in Dairy Cows

Summary points:

  • Reproductive rate is a prime driver of profitability on dairy farms
  • Cows that conceive earlier in lactation are more profitable
  • 1st service conception rate was increased significantly in cows fed MINTREX® trace minerals compared to cows fed inorganic trace minerals1

Reproductive rate is a major determinant of dairy herd efficiency and profitability. Cows that conceive earlier in lactation spend fewer days in late lactation when milk production and feed efficiency are at their lowest levels. Healthy, comfortable and well-nourished cows resume normal estrus cycles and conceive earlier in lactation and remain in the milking herd longer than less fertile cows.

A study of 534 commercial dairy herds found that top reproductive performance was associated with pregnancy rates greater than 25% and that conception rate accounted for 56% of the variation in observed pregnancy rates among herds. In this study, the value of pregnancy was greatest in cows that conceived before 90 days in lactation2 (Figure 1).


A summary of 11 years of herd financial and performance records on 489 herds found that pregnancy rate in the top one-third of dairy farms was 9 percentage units higher than in the bottom third of farms. This difference was associated with a $143 higher net farm income per cow per year in the top performing farms. Therefore, 1% increase in pregnancy rate was associated with an increase in net farm income of $15/cow/year3.

Trace Mineral Bioavailability is Crucial to Realize Reproductive Performance

MINTREX® trace minerals are bis-chelated minerals protected by 2 HMTBa molecules through the strongest of chemical bonds. This structure results in a neutral charge, reducing mineral reactions with other diet components, which in turn optimizes mineral bioavailability and absorption. In addition, MINTREX® products contribute a substantial amount of methionine to the diet (Figure 2).

Figure 2. MINTREX® Zinc trace mineral structure


MINTREX® Promotes Reproduction Efficiency

In a large, multi-herd study, 2,880 cows in 27 herds were fed the same base ration supplemented with equal levels (57 ppm Zn, 27 ppm Mn, 9 ppm Cu) of either inorganic trace minerals (ITM) or a combination of ITM and MINTREX® trace minerals. MINTREX® Zn (25 ppm), MINTREX® Mn (10 ppm) and MINTREX® Cu (6 ppm) substituted an equal amount of ITM. Compared to the Control, cows fed MINTREX® trace minerals significantly increased first service conception rate with a trend for improved conception at the second insemination1 (Figure 3).


The increase in 1st service conception rate of 34 percent would have a value of $40 per cow based on an average value of $450 per pregnancy. Using the data from the Lormore, 2018 study, and assuming that conception rate accounts for 50% of pregnancy rate, the value of the response in the Bach et al., study would be $68 per cow per year. In both cases, the value of the response exceeds the average cost of feeding MINTREX® by a ratio of up to 6:1.

Many factors affect reproductive performance in dairy cattle. Feeding MINTREX® trace minerals helps ensure optimal trace mineral status for reproduction and improves profitability, allowing the producer to focus on other potential bottlenecks that may be limiting reproductive performance in the dairy herd.


  1. Bach, A. A. Pinto and M. Blanch, 2015. Association between chelated trace mineral supplementation and milk yield, reproductive performance, and lameness in dairy cattle. Livestock Science 182: 69-75.
  2. Ferguson, J.D. 2018. Monitoring Reproduction to Meet Economic Goals. University of Pennsylvania Veterinary College., Kennett Square, PA.
  3. Lormore, M. 2018. Improve Pregnancy Rate to Help Maximize Profitability. Zoetis Report, Parsippany, N.J.


Dr. Will Seymour, Ruminant Technical Services Manager
Novus International, Inc.

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