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A Impact of Vitamin Supply Issues on the Price of Dry Cow Minerals in Spring 2018

A Impact of Vitamin Supply Issues on the Price of Dry Cow Minerals in Spring 2018 

Environmental concerns, particularly in the major Chinses urban centres, have seen the closure of numerous vitamin manufacturing facilities in China over the last 12 months. With up to 50% of the global supply of Vitamins A, D3 and E being made in China, this reduction of manufacturing capabilities has impacted on the supply, and therefore price of these vitamins.

A fire at a major manufacturing facility in Germany at the end of October 2017 further deepened the supply issues, and at present global supply of Vitamins A, D3 and E is at approximately 40% of normal levels. The knock-on effect on prices has seen the price for these vitamins jump to roughly 6 times the levels they were at in September 2017.

Existing supplies in Irish mineral manufacturing facilities have now been used up, and although Nutribio have secured their supply of vitamins, all mineral products manufactured in 2018 will be subject to the increased price levels.

Role of Vitamins in Pre-Calver minerals 

Vitamins play a critical role in metabolism and immune function in all mammals, and must be provided in the diet. In the case of the typical dry cow grass silage diet, vitamin supply is deficient for the animal’s needs, and therefore these Vitamins must be included in Dry Cow supplements. Vitamin A is essential for colostrum quality and immune function, Vitamin D3 plays a key role in Calcium metabolism and the prevention of Milk Fever, and Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant and important for optimum immune function. Nutribio Dry Cow mineral supplements are formulated specifically for the Irish dry cow diets, by experienced Nutritionists according to National and International recommendations.

Impact of Vitamins on the Price of Dry Cow Minerals 

The below worked example uses a top-quality dry cow mineral, as these products contain the highest levels of Vitamins and are therefore most affected by the increase in prices. At 2017 prices, these Dry Cow minerals will have cost approximately €35 per bag – 2018 prices will increase by €10 to around €45 a bag. The table below shows the impact of this price rise on the cost per cow per day and cost per cow over a 60 day dry cow feeding period, an increase of just under €3 per cow, or €300 for a 100 cow herd.


Price per 25kg bag Cost per Cow per day (120g/cow/d feeding rate) Cost per Cow per 60 days feeding
2017 Mineral €35.00 €0.17 €10.08
2018 Mineral €45.00 €0.22 €12.96


While some farmers may be tempted to either reduce feeding rates of Dry Cow minerals to save these extra costs, it is important to consider this in relation to the cost of metabolic disorders. Reducing the level of dry cow minerals fed to cows pre-calving will increase the risk of Milk Fever, Retained Placenta, Displaced Abomasum and Metritis. Work from UCD shows the costs of a single case of these disorders ranges from €190 to over €500 per cow, and demonstrates how any saving from reducing or eliminating Dry Cow mineral feeding will be lost with just 1 case of any of the above.


Metabolic Disorder Cost of 1 case 
Milk Fever € 312.27
Displaced Abomasum € 515.04
Retained placenta € 392.42
Metritis € 187.70

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