Friday, August 14, 2015

Developing a Mineral Program for My Cattle

Q:  I’m looking for some help in developing a mineral program for my cow herd and wondered what was best for our area? Specifically, if there is commercial off-the-shelf offerings that would be sufficient or if there should be a custom mix put together. Thanks. -- B.T., Ash Grove, Mo.

Answered by Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension

Normally I feel there are few instances in which a "special" mineral mix would be necessary. Every feed company has a variety to choose from.  Seldom do you need the high dollar mineral.  Salt is the primary mineral they like and need for the sodium in it.  I would want the mineral to have at least 20 to 25% salt in it.  Phosphorus levels in the 6% range should be adequate if you're feeding decent hay or pasture.  Phosphorus will also come from concentrate supplements like distillers grains.

The trace minerals should run 1500 parts per million on copper, 3500 ppm on zinc and 12 ppm on selenium.  They may not be necessary but most dealers say they are in their supplements.

Finally minerals often have other ingredients contained in them such as fly controls, antibiotics, mystery items to combat fescue toxicosis.  The latter is usually not effective so I'd just buy a mineral for the true mineral ingredients.

If you have questions please call me at 417-466-3102.

Eldon Cole
Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension
Courthouse, P.O. Box 388
Mt. Vernon, MO  65712
(417) 466-3102