22 January 2021

33 benefits of trace minerals for cattle and why you should supplement them

Trace minerals for cattle


3 minute read


Supplementation of the necessary trace minerals improves the overall well-being of cattle: supplemented cattle develop a higher resistance against diseases, reach optimal growth, and have an increased reproduction. These minerals can be supplemented in numerous ways such as lick blocks and ruminal boluses. But what exactly do all these minerals contribute to cattle? To give you an idea of the necessity of trace minerals for cattle we summarized the benefits of copper, cobalt, selenium, zinc, and iodine.

Why should a farmer supplement trace minerals to cattle?

A deficiency in trace minerals is linked to numerous fertility problems, inflammatory diseases, insufficient growth, and other complications affecting the profitability of cattle. We dived into an endless amount of scientific papers and books (drinking liters of amazing Colombian coffee) so you don’ have to and summarized 33 ways in which cattle benefit from the supplementation of trace elements, proving that supplementation is definitely worth the investment.

Trace minerals for cattle



  • Less reproductive problems such as early embryonic death and retained placenta
  • Higher fertility because of less delayed or depressed estrus
  • Improved conception rates
  • Higher quality semen production


  • Growth of tendons and ligaments
  • Involved in energy production


  • Decreased cholesterol with possible health benefits on humans
  • Involved in red cell production




  • Increased fertility
  • Improved conception rate
  • General better conditioning of the calve


  • Better rumen fermentation by increased fiber digestion of low-quality forages
  • Prevents developmental and growth problems
  • Fewer delays of puberty


  • Cobalt plays a role in the development of vitamin B12 which is vital for energy metabolism and the production of red blood cells




  • Improved conception rate
  • Reduces the cases of retained placenta
  • Fewer calf death losses
  • Overall stronger calves at birth


  • Increased calf weight


  • Fewer cases of mastitis and metritis
  • Helps with the production of antibodies



  • An increase in daily gain for fattening beef cattle.
  • Bone and cartilage development


  • A decreased susceptibility to infection
  • Antioxidant actions (cell protection)




  • Less failure of fertilization
  • Higher conception rate


  • Improvement of growth
  • Improvement of brain development
  • Less delay of puberty
  • Influences the development of the fetus (Puls, 1994) and the conception rate (Yasothai, 2014).

Mineral boluses for Cattle


A bolus is a complementary feed that is becoming more and more popular since it’s an easy and economical solution to enrich an animal's diet. With only one bolus the vitamin and mineral requirements of the herd are covered for a few hours up to six months. Resco developed two different mineral boluses with a slow-release effect ensuring that your cattle’s requirements are met during six months.

High Trace


Our trace mineral bolus High Trace is a slow-release cattle supplement designed to prevent a trace mineral deficiency in cattle and improve the overall wellbeing of the cows. High Trace can be used for cows over 250 kg.

Minerals for cattle with a High Trace bolus



Tracetop is a mineral bolus containing all the benefits of the High Trace bolus, but with vitamins added to the formula.

Vitamins and minerals for cattle with a Tracetop bolus

High Trace or Tracetop? The choice is yours!



Ceballos-Marquez, A., Barkema, H. W., Stryhn, H., Wichtel, J. J., Neumann, J., Mella, A., Kruze, J., Espindola, M. S., & Wittwer, F. (2010). The effect of selenium supplementation before calving on early-lactation udder health in pastured dairy heifers. Journal of Dairy Science, 93(10), 4602–4612. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2010-3086

Engle, T. E., & Spears, J. W. (2000). Dietary copper effects on lipid metabolism, performance, and ruminal fermentation in finishing steers. Journal of Animal Science, 78(9), 2452. https://doi.org/10.2527/2000.7892452x

FEEDAP. (2009). Scientific Opinion on the use of cobalt compounds as additives in animal nutrition. EFSA Journal, 7(12), 1383. https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1383

Gerloff, B. J. (1992). Effect of selenium supplementation on dairy cattle. Journal of Animal Science, 70(12), 3934–3940. https://doi.org/10.2527/1992.70123934x

Harrison, J. H., & Conrad, H. R. (1984). Effect of Selenium Intake on Selenium Utilization by the Nonlactating Dairy Cow. Journal of Dairy Science, 67(1), 219–223. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(84)81288-6

Hunter, A. P. (1977). Some nutritional factors affecting the fertility of dairy cattle. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 25(11), 305–307. https://doi.org/10.1080/00480169.1977.34438

Kumar, S. (2003). Management of infertility due to mineral deficiency in dairy animals. Proceedings of ICAR summer school on “Advance diagnostic techniques and therapeutic approaches to metabolic and deficiency diseases in dairy animals, 128–137.

López-Alonso, M., & Miranda, M. (2020). Copper supplementation, a challenge in cattle. Animals, 10(10), 1890. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101890

Lopez-Guisa, J. M., & Satter, L. D. (1992). Effect of Copper and Cobalt Addition on Digestion and Growth in Heifers Fed Diets Containing Alfalfa Silage or Corn Crop Residues. Journal of Dairy Science, 75(1), 247–256. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(92)77759-5

McChowell, J. M., & Hall, G. A. (1970). Infertility associated with experimental copper deficiency in cattle, sheep, guinea pigs and rats. In Trace element metabolism in animals (C. F. Mills ed., pp. 106–109). ed. E. S. Livingstone, Edinburg.

McClure, T. J., Eamens, G. J., & Healy, P. J. (1986). Improved fertility in dairy cows after treatment with selenium pellets. Australian Veterinary Journal, 63(5), 144–146. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-0813.1986.tb02952.x

McDowell, L. R. (2003). Minerals in Animal and Human Nutrition. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Miller, J. K., Ramsey, N., & Madsen, F. C. (1988). . In The ruminant animal: Digestive physiology and nutrition (Church D C ed., pp. 342–400). Englewood Cliffs (N.J.): Prentice-Hall.

Miller, W. J. (1970). Zinc nutrition of cattle: A review. Journal of Dairy Science, 53(8), 1123–1135. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(70)86355-x

O’Dell, L. (1990). . In Present Knowledge in Nutrition (M L Brown ed., pp. 261–267). International Life Sciences Institute-Nutrition Foundation.

Perry, T. W., Beeson, W. M., Smith, W. H., & Mohler, M. T. (1968). Value of zinc supplementation of natural rations for fattening beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science, 27(6), 1674. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas1968.2761674x

Puls, R. (1994). Mineral Levels in Animal Health, Diagnostic Data. Sherpa International.

Reffett, J. K., Spears, J. W., & Brown, T. T. (1988). Effect of Dietary Selenium on the Primary and Secondary Immune Response in Calves Challenged with Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis Virus. The Journal of Nutrition, 118(2), 229–235. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/118.2.229

Spears, J. W., Harvey, R. W., & Segerson, E. C. (1986). Effects of marginal selenium deficiency and winter protein supplementation on growth, reproduction and selenium status of beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science, 63(2), 586–594. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas1986.632586x

Underwood, E. J., & Suttle, N. F. (2001). The Mineral Nutrition of Livestock. CABI Pub.

Yasothai, R. (2014). Importance of minerals on reproduction in dairy cattle. International Journal of Science, Environment and Technology, 3(6), 2051–2057. http://www.ijset.net/journal/446.pdf

Zeleňák, I., Plachá, I., Sviatko, P., Vendrák, T., Siroka, P., & Gyulai, F. (1992). The effect of copper and cobalt supplementation on the digestibility of fibrous feed in sheep. Vet Med (Prague), 37, 221–229. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1641952/

33 benefits of trace minerals for cattle and why you should supplement them

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