Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

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Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Lucky » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:02 pm

How many and what types of newborn calf problems do y’all think are caused by not keeping mineral out in the 3-4 months prior to calving season? I’m guessing muscle, tendon, and brain development issues are related to lack of minerals but it’s hard to say for sure. Mineral gets very expensive and keeping it out year round is hard to do. I’d guess it’s #3 on the expense sheet. #1 Feed, #2 vaccines and antibiotics, #3 mineral.



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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Silver » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:49 pm

That's a trick question. You'd need to know exactly what you are short of and by how much. My cattle get TM salt and that's it. No loose mineral. No muscle, tendon, or brain development issues. Very high live calf to cow ratio. But it could be that my cattle are receiving most of what they need through their feed source. If I had a demonstrated need for mineral supplement you'd bet I'd be testing and coming up with a formula.

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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Nesikep » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:27 pm

I once compiled a list of mineral deficiencies because I was having issues... I spend more on salt/mineral than medications

read through this and see if it helps at all... I did a blood test on a high producing cow that was having trouble breeding back when she calved early, but when she calved late she bred back right away.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/g61n3dsvlprqz ... s.pdf?dl=0
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Bright Raven » Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:53 am

Selenium deficiency is an occurring problem in this region. Without doing liver biopsies and other tests, for a cow/calf producer it is prudent to keep a good mineral available to cows during the entire gestation period to ensure healthy, thrifty calves.
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by True Grit Farms » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:13 am

I don't see where a mineral deficiency plays a major role in new born calves. I'm very familiar with a couple of herds of cattle that get a trace mineral block thrown out on the ground for their mineral and that's it. They have no more calf issues than we have, but their cow herd has been a work in progress for 50 years. The cows that couldn't cut it got culled or ate a long time ago. I'm a firm believer that minerals don't hurt and use a lot of MultiMin along with a free choice mineral program.
From what I've learned in cattle business the old timers will not change what works, especially if it cost them money.
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by JMJ Farms » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:17 am

Been my observation as well. I try to do everything right. But when it comes to the cows, it’s very hard for me to find the line of where the best balance is. It’s very easy to spend more than you can get back. With that said, I feed free choice mineral. Vigortone. $28.50 bag. Gets expensive but it’s good.
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Bright Raven » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:36 am

IMO, it doesn't matter whether the herd is managed by an "oldtimer" or a 12 year old city slicker. If the soils are deficient in Selenium and the feed or supplement does not compensate, there are going to be deficiencies in the calves. No one knows how many calves are lost in these "50 year herds" unless you help manage them. Adrian is a neighbor and he is quite content with a 10 % loss in his calf crop. He runs about 250 cows. I doubt he puts out anything but white salt. He probably doesn't even know when a calf dies.

Having said that, not all areas are deficient in minerals. I know in the Rocky Mountain west, metals are well represented in the native soils because the Rocky Mountains are metamorphic and igneous rocks that are higher in minerals than some of the sedimentary rocks in the east.
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Caustic Burno » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:02 am

Bright Raven wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:36 am
IMO, it doesn't matter whether the herd is managed by an "oldtimer" or a 12 year old city slicker. If the soils are deficient in Selenium and the feed or supplement does not compensate, there are going to be deficiencies in the calves. No one knows how many calves are lost in these "50 year herds" unless you help manage them. Adrian is a neighbor and he is quite content with a 10 % loss in his calf crop. He runs about 250 cows. I doubt he puts out anything but white salt. He probably doesn't even know when a calf dies.

Having said that, not all areas are deficient in minerals. I know in the Rocky Mountain west, metals are well represented in the native soils because the Rocky Mountains are metamorphic and igneous rocks that are higher in minerals than some of the sedimentary rocks in the east.
Selenium never even blips the radar in this part of the world, copper can be lacking.
I can’t remember my last calf mortality currently dealing with a dummy. First I have had in 15 years or more that I attribute to a backward birth.
That said mine have minerals 365.
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Bright Raven » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:16 am

Caustic Burno wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:02 am
Bright Raven wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:36 am
IMO, it doesn't matter whether the herd is managed by an "oldtimer" or a 12 year old city slicker. If the soils are deficient in Selenium and the feed or supplement does not compensate, there are going to be deficiencies in the calves. No one knows how many calves are lost in these "50 year herds" unless you help manage them. Adrian is a neighbor and he is quite content with a 10 % loss in his calf crop. He runs about 250 cows. I doubt he puts out anything but white salt. He probably doesn't even know when a calf dies.

Having said that, not all areas are deficient in minerals. I know in the Rocky Mountain west, metals are well represented in the native soils because the Rocky Mountains are metamorphic and igneous rocks that are higher in minerals than some of the sedimentary rocks in the east.
Selenium never even blips the radar in this part of the world, copper can be lacking.
I can’t remember my last calf mortality currently dealing with a dummy. First I have had in 15 years or more that I attribute to a backward birth.
That said mine have minerals 365.


Mine too. Unless I did a detailed investigation, it only makes sense. I know there is a Selenium and copper deficiency in the soils here. I suspect the other ingredients in my mineral such as vitamins also account for the good performance in my herd.
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Ebenezer » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:33 am

Once you feed a decent mineral (if needed) and experience the difference with the cattle then you realize that minerals are not a cost but a step to higher return. Same thing with decent water systems, some rotation, ... One of your highest expenses is going to be land/tax/depreciation/facilities/insurance and the way to make it pay off the best is to produce as much as possible with some investment.

The one thing not mentioned is types of forages and browse. Different plants and weeds can accumulate and supply various minerals. That might be saving some folks on the whole thought.

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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Bright Raven » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:03 am

Ebenezer wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:33 am

The one thing not mentioned is types of forages and browse. Different plants and weeds can accumulate and supply various minerals. That might be saving some folks on the whole thought.
I have a diverse pasture. The hilly terrain here covers different habitats. I have woodlands, creeks, hollers, ridge tops, borderlands, etc. There are many species of shrubs, trees, and plants. I watched a cow yesterday eating the leaves off a multi flora rose. I see them eating a variety of plants along the creek. I see them eating walnut leaves, etc. Different plants pull up different levels of minerals. I suspect my cows would suffer along without mineral. But they might still be short on copper or Selenium. I get excellent breed back, my cows are fertile and calves are thrifty. I believe the mineral accounts for that.
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Lucky » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:35 am

My cows at home go through very little mineral but, I’ve had lease places were you couldn’t keep enough out. I bought a few cows last week and they hung around the mineral feeder like they’d never seen one before. You would think there would be a simple blood test you could send off to find out what the cattle in question are lacking, if anything. We have a place nearby that makes cattle mineral and from what I understand you can send them soil samples and get a custom mix. Probably have to buy a couple tons but might be worth a try. I was just going back over this years calving records and trying to figure out ways to improve. Maybe it was just an off year.

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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by Bright Raven » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:48 am

Lucky wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:35 am
My cows at home go through very little mineral but, I’ve had lease places were you couldn’t keep enough out. I bought a few cows last week and they hung around the mineral feeder like they’d never seen one before. You would think there would be a simple blood test you could send off to find out what the cattle in question are lacking, if anything. We have a place nearby that makes cattle mineral and from what I understand you can send them soil samples and get a custom mix. Probably have to buy a couple tons but might be worth a try. I was just going back over this years calving records and trying to figure out ways to improve. Maybe it was just an off year.
Blood mineral levels do not tell the whole story. Some minerals are stored in organs. It requires putting the cow in a chute and inserting a cannula up into the liver to obtain a liver tissue biopsy.
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by gcreekrch » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:13 am

Lucky wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:35 am
My cows at home go through very little mineral but, I’ve had lease places were you couldn’t keep enough out. I bought a few cows last week and they hung around the mineral feeder like they’d never seen one before. You would think there would be a simple blood test you could send off to find out what the cattle in question are lacking, if anything. We have a place nearby that makes cattle mineral and from what I understand you can send them soil samples and get a custom mix. Probably have to buy a couple tons but might be worth a try. I was just going back over this years calving records and trying to figure out ways to improve. Maybe it was just an off year.
Simple feed samples will tell you as much or more. Every year is different.
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Re: Mineral Deficiency in Newborn Calves

Post by cowgirl8 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:56 am

Bright Raven wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:53 am
Selenium deficiency is an occurring problem in this region. Without doing liver biopsies and other tests, for a cow/calf producer it is prudent to keep a good mineral available to cows during the entire gestation period to ensure healthy, thrifty calves.
Back in the 80s, my mother in law who is a supplement junky, suggested I wasn't getting enough selenium because she read in Readers Digest that the land is depleted in it. She bought me a jar of it. I was like, OK... its OTC what can it hurt.
About a month in, my toenails fell off. Just popped right off and took years for them to grow back normal. I quit taking the selenium thinking maybe that did it after taking it for a month...then, forgot about it. When we all got internet, I read somewhere about livestock losing hooves from over doses of selenium.. I then remembered my MIL suggesting I take it and at that time all my toenails fell off, I investigated more and sure enough, that can happen.
So, always test to see if your animals need it.. can be bad if they don't.....
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