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The influence of an increased cobalt supply to dairy cows on the vitamin B12 status of their calves

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In the experiment the influence of an elevated oral cobalt supply (Co content in the ration 0.27 mg Co/kg DM; supplement of 0.14 mg Co/kg DM as CoSO4) to pregnant dairy cows on the vitamin B12 concentration in milk, colostrum and vitamin B12 status of their calves was tested in comparison with unsupplemented controls (0.13 mg Co/kg DM). While there was no significant difference in vitamin B12 concentration in the at 70th day of lactation (start of the experiment; 3.77 ± 1.41 vs. 3.66 ± 1.03 ng/ml) and 290th day of lactation (almost drying off; 4.75 ± 3.05 vs. 4.44 ± 0.96 ng/ml), cobalamin concentration in the milk colostrum showed a tendency towards a higher cobalt content in the ration of the supplemented cows in comparison with the controls (21.0 ± 8.4 vs. 16.7 ± 11.9 ng/ml). Differences in the vitamin B12 concentration in the serum of the newborn calves before and after ingestion of colostrum were not detected. From these results it can be concluded that cobalt content of 0.13 mg Co/kg DM in the ration based on wilted grass silage seems to be sufficient for pregnant dairy cows.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Animal Nutrition, Federal Agricultural Research Centre Braunschweig, Germany, 2: Clinic for Cattle Diseases, School of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany, and

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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