Hypocuprosis: a clinical investigation of dairy herds in Northland

Hypocuprosis: a clinical investigation of dairy herds in Northland
Peer reviewed


Northland has a wide variety of soil types, many of which are strongly leached wet clays with thin topsoils and low subsoil fertility. The copper status of many of these soils is low (Cunningham et al 1956; Taylor et al 1956; Wells, 1957). Copper deficiency (hypocuprosis) has been reported at various times in both cattle and sheep in this part of New Zealand, but the incidence was considered to be low and confined to a few localized areas. Investigations of the copper status of dairy and beef cattle grazing pastures on basalt soils were begun in 1970 and were later extended to include farms on alluvial soils having a high natural molybdenum level (Wells, 1957), and also to farms on which outbreaks of post-parturient haemoglobinuria (P.P.H.) occur (Martinovlch and Woodhouse, 1971). The low copper status of dairy cattle in Northland was first reported by Smith (1972). This paper records the results of investigations into the copper status of 50 dairy herds in Northland (that part of New Zealand north of Auckland City) and draws attention to the relationship between the copper levels in the animal and the use of molybdic fertilizers. The influence of the use of other fertilizers and lime on copper status and copper-molybdenum interaction is studied. The haemolytic anaemia found in many affected herds is also discussed.

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