Supplementing cattle rations with mineral may seem expensive at first glance, but the cost of an incomplete nutritional package can show up as quickly as one breeding season where fertility rates plummet. The cost of open heifers or cows adds up far faster than the cost of mineral.
When deciding on a mineral supplement, amount, formulation and access all work together to ensure ideal consumption rates. Over consumption is expensive and wasteful and under consumption defeats the purpose. But how do you decide what to add and how much?
Dr. John McKinnon, with the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Beef Industry Chair, says choosing a mineral supplement formulation begins with three key tests: a soil test, a feed test and a water test. You can’t begin to match nutritional needs to the animal until you know what’s missing.
In this edition of the Beef Research School, McKinnon explains the risks of skipping mineral, how to use these three tests to determine mineral forumulation, offers tips on regulating intake and discusses why over and under consumption most likely occurs.
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