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Australian sheep producers aiming to maximise growth rates and fertility can now optimise their flock's performance with trace minerals and Vitamin B12.

Supplementing the diet of lambs, ewes and rams to capture the most benefit from genetics and management has never been easier, thanks to the new Marks-Min® for Sheep injectable range. The Marks-Min®for Sheep range contains trace minerals selenium, manganese, zinc and B12 and is available with, or without, copper.

Boehringer Ingelheim's Livestock Technical Services Manager, Dr Gareth Kelly, said the creation of this product range was underpinned by the huge investments farmers have been making into uplevelling their sheep production systems. 

“We are seeing more and more sheep producers pushing their systems - improving pastures, accelerating growth rates to market and increasing reproduction outcomes. The Marks-Min for Sheep product range supports this level of management and production,” he said. “The B12 in Marks-Min is vital for this as it can improve vitamin B12 status and assists them to maintain a positive energy balance in times of high energy demand, such as joining, lactation and high growth.”

Australian dairy and beef cattle producers have been using Marks-Min for Cattle product range products as a nutrient supplement for several years. It has provided a much-needed top up to improve trace mineral and B12 status in livestock at times of high trace mineral and energy demand, to optimise growth, reproduction, and immunity. 

Dr Kelly said supplementing cattle with trace minerals and B12 at critical times can deliver productivity and profitability benefits - such as heavier weaning weights, more fertile animals - leading to tighter calving and less disease. Unlike cattle, sheep are more susceptible to copper toxicity. Many don’t require copper supplementation - and for those that do – they don’t need as much as cattle. That’s why the Marks-Min for Sheep product range includes a “Copper Free” and “Low Copper” option. 

Dr Kelly said copper is an essential trace mineral - and more of it is required by sheep at times of high growth, lambing and lactation - but too much can be toxic. “We suggest the best way to know which Marks-Min for Sheep product your business requires is to consult your animal health advisor and to look at pasture testing,” he said. “This will tell you your copper concentration and whether it’s available or locked up by other minerals present in the pasture. Designed specifically for sheep, Marks-Min Low Copper for Sheep provides an appropriate dose for sheep needing copper supplementation.”

To get the most from the Marks-Min for Sheep product range, lambs can be treated once they reach 15 kilograms liveweight, while the best time to treat ewes is four weeks pre-joining and four weeks pre-lambing. The optimum time to treat rams is 12-weeks pre-joining. 

For time efficiency, treatments can be timed with essential jobs such as pre-lambing crutching or pre-joining ram inspections. Marks-Min for Sheep products have a Nil Export Slaughter Interval (ESI), meat and milk withhold.