Since most cow-calf operations rely primarily on pasture or forage, supplementing with free-choice minerals often provides a sizeable return on investment. With hundreds of products available, all touting various claims, selecting a mineral that best fits your operation can be confusing. Below are the top four factors to look at when choosing a mineral.
1. Look for a supplement designed for your geographical region
Differences in soil type, soil pH, and fertilization programs all influence the concentration and availability of individual minerals from forage, and thus affect the amounts that must be provided in a supplement. Key mineral elements such as phosphorus, copper, zinc, and selenium are commonly deficient and supplements help combat the issue.
2. Ensure the mineral supplement you choose contains bioavailable sources
Sulfate and chloride forms of minerals tend to be better absorbed in the digestive tract.
3. Consider mineral supplements manufactured with a larger, more consistent particle size
Such products are less prone to segregation of the individual ingredients, ensuring that each bite consumed by the animal contains consistent nutrition. Mineral supplements that don’t segregate, such as liquid varieties, are often more readily consumed and cut down on wasted mineral due to wind or rain.
4. Regulate Intake
Even the best mineral supplement will not provide satisfactory performance if not consumed at the appropriate rate. Mineral supplements are formulated for a specific level of intake, found listed on the tag. Feeding in excess of this amount results in added cost and wasted nutrients; underfeeding will lead to less-than-expected performance. Intake can be regulated to some extent by monitoring consumption and changing mineral feeder location.
Stockdale’s has a complete line of cattle minerals designed to meet these guidelines. Recent enhancements to our line make them the choice for supplementing cattle in the Southeast. Check with your local Stockdale’s feed experts to determine the product best suited to your operation.