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Outwintering can be an excellent cost-effective option for keeping sheep and cattle through the winter. Many of the crops used have excellent energy and protein contents but they also commonly contain goitrogens.
Goitrogens impede the metabolism of iodine so that it is not effectively taken up the thyroid. In the thyroid iodine forms part of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones help to control metabolic rate and therefore growth rates. If there is insufficient iodine reaching the thyroid then this will have a negative effect on metabolism. This can lead to poor performance through the season.
In the winter, in order to stay warm, animals also need to increase their metabolic rate in order to stay warm in winter, therefore iodine requirement is increased.
All of this means that iodine supplementation should definitely be considered if you are out-wintering your stock this year.