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News last update:14 Jan 2016

UK lambs may suffer from cobalt deficiency

Cobalt deficiency is threatening to limit lamb growth rates, technicians are warning on the website of FarmersWeekly.

Despite the fact it has been an exceptional year for grass growth in the UK, many farmers in the country are reporting later lambs have not been flourishing.

Nia Williams from Nettex Technical says forage mineral analysis conducted by the animal nutritional company revealed average cobalt levels in forage only rations were below lamb average daily requirements. Symptoms of a cobalt deficiency are ill-thrift and lack of appetite (resulting in longer finishing times and reduced carcass weights).

Rumen bacteria require a level of cobalt to be able to synthesise vitamin B12, which is essential for energy metabolism and efficient lamb growth. Lambs have a limited capacity to store cobalt and therefore need supplementation.

Ms Williams advises farmers who think lambs may be suffering from cobalt deficiency to get forage analysed or blood samples taken.


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