After 12 intensive months of in-depth trace mineral trials conducted by seven farmers—and their mentors—around Australia, the results of the Multimin Performance Ready Challenge winner’s vote are finally in.
With close to 5000 public votes cast for the three finalists, and 50 per cent of the votes going to the overall winner, challenge organiser Virbac Australia have announced the 2019 Multimin Challenger Queen as Victorian farmer Renee Murfett from Framlingham.
Virbac Australia’s livestock nutrition product manager Jerry Liu described the level of public support for the challenge as “truly amazing. This competition has really captured the hearts and minds of our farming communities, and we’re incredibly proud of Renee and her mentor Dr Susan Swaney for all the hard work and dedication they’ve put into this trial over the last year.”
Murfett’s goal was clear from the word go. “I wanted to use Multimin to increase the immunity, health and productivity of our calves,” she said.
With five heifers previously lost due to broken legs, all indications were that her stock was suffering from suboptimal levels of trace minerals.
“The Multimin Challenge was a great opportunity to see the impact of trace mineral supplementation on our livestock health and performance,” Murfett said.
With the trial itself focusing on 105 treated animals and 105 untreated animals, calves were weighed at birth and even numbered tags were given a shot of Multimin injection, with odd numbered tags left untreated as a control mob.
“Our first observation was that the treated calves had a very shiny coat compared to the untreated animals,” Murfett said. “With skin being the first line of defence, animals with healthy coats have higher immunity to disease, and they can better fight off infections—and that leads to improved future productivity.”
The next obvious difference was when calves were transitioned onto hard feed. Many untreated animals developed scouring and went off their feed for two to three days, Murfett explained. However, none of the Multimin-treated animals developed scours, and continued to feed well.
“This trial has proved the critical roles trace elements play in immunity and animal health, and it’s really showed how Multimin can enhance immunity. There’s no doubt that optimisation of trace minerals at high demand times can improve animal health and productivity,” Murfett said.
As part of her prize, Virbac Australia will be sending Murfett on an overseas study tour tailored to her farming system, valued at more than $20,000.