Source: BEEF Magazine | June 5, 2019
Soon, perhaps already, cow-calf pairs and stockers will be turned out on summer grass. Traditionally, many beef producers supplement summer grass with minerals to ensure the cattle receive adequate nutrition.
Different parts of the country and different soils have differing mineral content. That makes mineral nutrition perhaps the least understood component of ruminant nutrition, especially in grazing animals.
A couple of reasons for this are that mineral content of forages constantly changes throughout the year and free-choice mineral supplement intake of cattle is highly variable. Insufficient mineral can result in losses in performance and can cause clinical deficiencies. More commonly though, subclinical deficiencies occur manifested as reduced pregnancy rates, rough hair coats, hoof issues, retained placenta, low libido and poor calf performance.
To make sure sufficient mineral is provided, ranchers should consider the various sources and forms available and the best feeding strategy.
Where is that mineral coming from?Mineral requirements can be met via feed, water and supplemental sources. Often, we think about free-choice minerals as the only source for cattle, but there are many other options.