ENSURING sheep are in optimum condition before they enter their most challenging times of the year – pre-tupping or post-scanning – is crucial, with any shortfalls having long-term effects on the overall health and profitability of the flock.
That is the view of Tom Darling, Agrimin, who says sheep need all the help they can get to achieve their best body condition at these times.
He says trace element management has been shown to have a beneficial and significant effect on ewe health with increasing numbers of farmers finding signs of cobalt, selenium and even iodine issues on livestock units following checks on the mineral status of their soils, and or blood testing of sheep. 
Regardless of farm or animal status, the Agrimin 24·7 Smartrace bolus is gentle, he said and is one way of making sure all essential minerals are delivered safely. And, getting the minerals directly into the rumen, ensures the right amounts are delivered over a 180-day period.
“A key benefit is that that the ewe is only handled once,” says Tom. “And, it’s a 100% accurate way of knowing the correct application is given. Other ways of mineral supplementation involve a hit and miss approach – and don’t guarantee each ewe getting the same application. Bolusing post-scanning is becoming increasingly popular, and we’ve seen some great results with resultant lambing percentages. 
“Once done, you don’t handle the ewe again, minimising stress at this time, which also means the ewe has a guaranteed level of minerals released into her body to maintain her lamb/lambs during the following months when they’re growing inside the womb.
“It also means the best quality colostrum is delivered to the lambs immediately after birth, and this continues in the mainstream milk leading up to weaning time,” he adds.
“Furthermore, once it’s in the rumen the bolus gently erodes, slowing releasing the minerals into the bloodstream on a daily basis which is important as neither cobalt or iodine can be stored in the body.
“At the same time, the bolus leaves no residue, and there’s no need for a withdrawal period – again giving peace of mind that you’ve helped as much as you can in preparing the animal for the task ahead,” says Tom. 
Each 48g bolus delivers a daily supply of 0.8mg cobalt, 4.2mg iodine and 0.4mg selenium. It’s free from copper, so is suitable for continental breeds as well, and complies with EU organic regulations.