Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Department raises concerns about iodine levels in dairy feed

The recommended maximum content of iodine in complete feed for dairy cows is just 2mg/kg.
The recommended maximum content of iodine in complete feed for dairy cows is just 2mg/kg.
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

The Department of Agriculture has written to animal feed manufactures regarding recommended maximum content of total Iodine levels in complete feed for ruminants for milk production.

In this notice, seen by FarmIreland the Department cites, milk containing high levels of iodine is unsuitable for use in certain high value-added markets, important to the Irish dairy industry.

he department also brings to the attention of the feed business operators, that in a letter issued by Teagasc earlier this year, Teagasc states that the current level of supplementation in compound feed for dairy cows greatly exceeds the cow requirement as well as the existing Teagasc recommended levels. 

In light of this, the Department in this notice issued last week highlighted to all Feed business operators (FBO’s), i.e. manufactures/suppliers of animal feed, mineral supplements, boluses and premix companies, that the maximum content of iodine in complete feeds for the dairy cows is 5mg/kg (EC) 2015/861.

DAFM’s notice also states that the recommended maximum content of iodine in feed for lactating dairy cows is 2mg/kg. This refers to 2mg/kg in complete feed which is clearly evident with the accompanying regulation which was sent to the FBO’s with the notice.

5mg/kg in complete feed for a cow consuming 17kg DM equates to 85mg per day. 2mg/kg in complete feed for a cow consuming 17kg DM equates a total intake of 34mg  per day.

 The Teagasc letter stated that the existing Teagasc recommended level of 60 mg/head/day for dairy cows greatly exceeds the cow’s requirement and a more appropriate level of  12mg/head/day was being recommended from January 2017 unless a deficiency is diagnosed on farm.

Recent Teagasc research on commercial dairy farms found that, on average, a pasture-only diet provided 0.25mg iodine per kg DM (range: 0.04 to 0.98mg iodine per kg DM). So for a cow eating 17kg DM, this means an intake of 4.25mg iodine per day on grass only. This  cow needs a further 7.75mg/kg to bring it to the Teagasc recommended level of 12 mg/ head / day.  A feed fed at 2kg/day would therefore contain4mg /kg of iodine , to provide the 8  mg/ per head per day shortfall. 


Feed businesses are very aware of the need to ensure a balanced approach to meet the requirements of the animals and the consumers of animal-derived foods is taken when formulating.

IGFA member’s advice is to apply advisory statements on product labels to communicate to farmers the need to check with technical experts before providing extra mineral sources.

IGFA provide their members with monthly Technical updates which include the latest regulatory information and other relevant information coming from other stakeholders in the animal feeding sector e.g. DAFM, Teagasc, milk processors, UCD etc.


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