5 reasons to replace sulfates


Optimizing animal feed is crucial for the health and performance of dairy cows. In the quest for improved trace mineral nutrition, sulfates, commonly used trace mineral sources in animal feed, are increasingly being replaced by more advanced alternatives. One such notable replacement that has gained popularity in recent years is IntelliBond. IntelliBond offers a wide range of benefits that not only promote animal health and welfare but also enhance overall performance.


Here are five reasons why sulfates are giving way to IntelliBond:

  1. Bioavailability
  2. More palatable feed
  3. Improved feed stability
  4. Higher fiber digestibility
  5. Improved milk production



Did you know that trace elements from sulfate sources are immediately dissociated as soon as they come into contact with water? This even happens in the mixer wagon! These reactive particles of copper, zinc, and manganese tend to interact with other feed particles and minerals, significantly reducing their availability. Fortunately, IntelliBond offers a solution. IntelliBond trace elements remain fully intact until they reach the abomasum, where the low pH causes them to be solubilize. Supported by studies, it has been shown that copper and zinc from IntelliBond may have twice the availability. This means that less copper, zinc, and manganese are needed, resulting in less mineral leaching into the manure and environment.

More palatable feed

Because trace elements from sulfate sources are released upon contact with water, this also happens in the mouth of the calf or cow. An interesting fact is that a cow has no fewer than 25,000 taste buds, which is 2.5 times more than humans! Fortunately, IntelliBond trace elements do not dissolve at a neutral pH, so they do not have an unpleasant taste. But that's not all! Three independent intake trials have shown that animals have a clear preference for minerals with IntelliBond over sulfates and even organic trace elements.

Improved feed stability

Trace elements are reactive when they are easily dissociated. Trace elements from sulfate sources increase the chance of the breakdown of fats and vitamins. IntelliBond trace elements do not accelerate the natural breakdown of unsaturated fats and vitamins.

Higher fiber digestibility

A cow only needs in total 3 grams of copper, zinc, and manganese per day. Yet this small amount can affect the bacteria in the rumen. Research has shown that the digestibility of the NDF fiber fraction improves by an average of 1.7% when IntelliBond trace elements are used instead of sulfates.

Improved milk production

With increased NDF digestibility, more available energy and protein for milk production may be expected. Before running a long-term study at the University of Florida, in 4 out of 5 studies cows fed Selko IntelliBond had an improved lactational performance compared to cows fed sulphates (Figure X).

Recently, Prof. Jose Santos from the University of Florida conducted a comprehensive trial to evaluate the effects of Selko IntelliBond on lactational performance, health and fertility in dairy cows. This study compared the outcomes of cows fed Selko IntelliBond trace minerals with those fed conventional sulphate trace minerals over a much longer period of time compared to earlier studies, spanning from 28d before calving until 105 days in milk. Average ECM production per day during the entire 105 day period was about 1.5 kg higher in the Selko IntelliBond group, this difference was statistically significant (See Figure X). Next, 1kg more colostrum was produced by cows fed with Selko IntelliBond.

These effects provides strong evidence supporting the use of Selko IntelliBond hydroxy trace minerals over traditional sulphate minerals. The comprehensive benefits observed span multiple aspects of dairy production, from improved palatability to optimizing nutritional value, resulting in better animal performance.

More information?

For more information reach out to Eric van der Wijst.