Supplementation with trace minerals (TM) is a husbandry strategy to improve cattle health. There is solid evidence of the beneficial effects of TM supplementation on the immune system. The concentration of TM in the soil is variable across the USA, with several regions having deficient levels in forages. Therefore, TM supplementation is highly recommended especially in areas where forages do not supply the mineral requirements. Before starting TM supplementation, it is important to evaluate the herd’s mineral profile, and the amount of TM the animals are consuming. Oral free-choice TM may not be sufficient to satisfy the requirements in certain situations, and could lead to TM deficiencies. This is due to a high variability in TM composition and intake, binding to undigested feed particles, reduced absorption, and antagonisms. Single, oral pulse-dose supplementation provides a controlled and homogeneous amount of TM intended to remove such a variation. However, this strategy does not efficiently increase circulating and hepatic TM levels. Parenteral TM supplementation has resulted in a more efficient increase in TM concentration. The strategic supplementation combining injectable TM during critical times of cattle management (e.g., vaccination) in conjunction with oral free-choice supplements has shown significant benefits for the immune response and protection against respiratory disease in beef cattle, reducing morbidity and treatment costs.
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