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Copper (Cu) deficiency is known to be a major risk for cattle health and production. The widespread problem is due to low absorption rates in the rumen, low Cu concentrations in the natural diet and the presence of dietary Cu antagonists, such as S, Mo and Fe (Suttle 2010). Cattle in the tropics are even more prone to shortage of this mineral, given that the animals are often extensively kept and largely dependent on natural pasture for mineral supply (McDowell and Arthington, 2005). More specifically, in Ethiopia, Cu deficiency was previously described in zebu (Bos indicus) cattle by several authors (e.g. Dermauw et al.). Similar to other minerals, Cu is part of the soil-plant-animal chain, with many factors influencing Cu concentrations at every level. In our study, the overall goal was to investigate the possible influence of certain environment and management factors on dietary concentrations of Cu and antagonists and Cu status in free ranging cattle.

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Copper Status of Free Ranging Cattle: What’s Hidden Behind? A Pilot Study at the Gilgel Gibe Catchment, Ethiopia

Copper (Cu) deficiency is known to be a major risk for cattle health and production. The widespread problem is due to low absorption rates in the rumen, low Cu concentrations in the natural diet and the presence of dietary Cu antagonists, such as S, Mo and Fe (Suttle 2010). Cattle in the tropics are even more prone to shortage of this mineral, given that the animals are often extensively kept and largely dependent on natural pasture for mineral supply (McDowell and Arthington, 2005). More specifically, in Ethiopia, Cu deficiency was previously described in zebu (Bos indicus) cattle by several authors (e.g. Dermauw et al.). Similar to other minerals, Cu is part of the soil-plant-animal chain, with many factors influencing Cu concentrations at every level. In our study, the overall goal was to investigate the possible influence of certain environment and management factors on dietary concentrations of Cu and antagonists and Cu status in free ranging cattle.