By Robert Fears
Mineral nutrition is very important for successful beef production because it impacts animal growth, reproduction, milk production and health. Cattle obtain part of their mineral requirements from forage, water and protein supplements, but the remainder of their requirements must be met through mineral supplements.
The big question is: “Which mineral supplement is needed for my cattle?” Selection of the right mineral is dependent on the geographical region, forage system, cattle production stage and other factors. Jason Banta of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provided some considerations in mineral supplement selection at the School for Successful Ranching during the 2019 Cattle Raisers Convention in Fort Worth. The majority of this article was taken from Banta’s presentation.
Components of a complete mineral supplement include salt (primarily for its sodium content), macro minerals and trace minerals (also called micro minerals). The supplement also may contain vitamins A, E and maybe D. Macro minerals are expressed as a percentage of the diet, whereas trace minerals are measured in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per kilograms (mg/kg). The macro and trace minerals are listed in Table 1.
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