Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Research Article Open Access

Impacts of trace element supplementation on productive/reproductive postpartum performances of grazing dairy heifers from volcanic soils

Helder Patrício Barcelos Nunes, Alfredo Emílio Silveira de Borba, Joaquim Fernando Moreira da Silva

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This study has been designed to evaluate the effect of trace elements (TE) on the reproductive and productive performances of postpartum Holstein Friesian heifers, fed on pasture with origin on volcanic soils, poor in TE. Twenty-six heifers pregnant were divided into two groups: experimental (EG) and control (CG) groups (n=13, each group). For animals belonging to the EG, two intra-ruminal capsules with TE were administrated 60 days before partum, while in the CG, no boluses were administered. All animals' blood was collected weekly to assess progesterone levels by the ELFA technique for 11 weeks after partum. TE were evaluated on blood by AAS when the experience started, on the day of delivery, and after 60 days. Before calving, no statistical differences were observed between groups for the trace elements, although it has been noticed that heifers had deficiencies in Selenium, Copper, and Iodine. On the calving day and 60 days after, a statistical increase (p<0.05) in serum Copper and Selenium was observed in the animals belonging to the EG. For the other TE, no statistical differences were observed. Concerning reproductive characteristics, the EG, at five weeks postpartum, 70% of the cows were cyclic, while in the CG in the same period, 33% of animals showed signs of ovarian activity. At the level of productive parameters, no differences were observed between groups. The results obtained by the present study allow concluding that, under our experimental conditions, the administration of trace elements, in addition to reducing postpartum anestrus, increases the quality of the corpus luteum in the postpartum period of heifers.


copper, iodine, manganese, pasture, reproduction, selenium, trace minerals


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