New from Nettex Cob-I-Sel 25 with balling gunSheep producers now have access to an innovative new micro bolus supplement that can be administered to lambs from as young as five weeks of age.

New COB-I-SEL 25 from Nettex is a slow release 25-day cobalt supplement that also delivers iodine, selenium and multi-vitamins. The micro bolus formulation has been developed specifically to help flockmasters maintain optimum cobalt levels in rapidly growing lambs and produce quality carcasses at finish. Its formulation also makes it ideal for targeted use during the ewe’s production cycle, such as at pre-tupping or around lambing.

“Cobalt is an essential mineral required for the rumen synthesis of vitamin B12, which is needed for starch metabolism and energy production. Growing lambs have very little storage capacity for these essential micro-nutrients and rely on a daily intake from feed, forage or grazing,” points out Nettex technical manager Nia Williams.

“Many pastures are deficient in cobalt – particularly those in the north of England, Wales, East Anglia and parts of the South West. In some of these areas animals can become cobalt deficient very quickly and will suffer from a condition known as ‘pine’ if not treated early. Animals affected will typically grow slowly, often remain small and in poor condition, and consequently take far longer to finish – which is costly. And in a year when many farmers have lost so many lambs because of the heavy early spring snowfall, it’s vital that the survivors don’t suffer from easily manageable mineral deficiencies.”

Nia Williams says that one of the main advantages of new COB-I-SEL 25 micro bolus over other cobalt boluses is that it can be administered to very young lambs (five weeks of age), giving animals the mineral before they can become really deficient. Other available mineral boluses cannot currently be administered to lambs until they reach 8-10 weeks of age, she points out.

“The great benefit of micro bolus technology is that it allows us to produce a supplement that weighs only a single gramme, yet can still deliver 1.4mg of cobalt per day for a 25 day period.”

There are also other benefits, she says. “Trace element supplementation of sheep and lambs is often challenging, particularly in extensive situations. For example, free access minerals require the animal to sense deficiency and seek out supplementation.”

COB-I-SEL 25 is available from agricultural merchant outlets in 250 micro bolus pack sizes. The dosage cost is only around 24 pence per lamb and 48 pence per ewe. Micro bolus administration should be repeated as necessary at 6-8 week intervals for both lambs and ewes.