Vitamin A & E Costs Skyrocketing

Vitamin A & E Costs Skyrocketing

The shortage comes as a result of a major fire at a BASF manufacturing facility in Germany in late October and retooling of production facilities in China, a major U.S. supplier of livestock vitamins. A return to normal production levels isn’t expected until midsummer.

“Prefresh cows should be the highest priority and be maintained at National Research Council (NRC) levels for vitamin A and probably 2,000 international units (IU) per day for vitamin E,” Weiss says. The recommendation for Vitamin A is 50 IU per pound of body weight, so for Jerseys that translates into 50,000 IU per day and for Holsteins, 70,000 IU per day. A prefresh period of two to three weeks should be adequate, Weiss says.

He notes several studies have shown Vitamins A and E reduce mastitis, abortion, retained placentas and metritis. “Substantial amounts of those vitamins are put into colostrum and substantial amounts of those vitamins are metabolized during the process of [birth],” he says. Weiss notes if you do not have a separate prefresh group for dry cows, the priority is to supplement at these levels for all dry cows.

“I would try to provide some supplemental Vitamins A and E to all cows, but lactating cows would be the lowest priority,” he says. “These cows consume a lot of feed and the feed is usually better than that fed to dry cows…. If vitamin A becomes scarce, I think you can reduce vitamin A supplementation to about 50% for several months. Likewise, vitamin E supplementation to lactating cows could probably be cut to 50% of NRC in the short term (a few months).”

Vitamin A and E supplementation can also be reduced to about 50% for bred heifers until about 60 days before calving he says.

For more on Weiss’ recommendations, visit this link:

Article from Dairy Herd Management, February 2018

Tags: Feed Costs