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Feeding minerals and salt

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bvfd129

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I was reading on the forum the other day and read that loose minerals and salt are far better than the mineral and salt blocks. Is this true? If so, can or should I mix the two together and what ratio of each should I use. Also, what type of minerals are best to feed, we have beef cattle, mostly black angus, in Southern Virginia.

Thanks
 

msscamp

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Yes, it is true. The problem with mineral blocks is two fold - 1) a lot of mineral blocks contain only trace mineral, and 2) it is difficult for the cattle to lick enough to meet their mineral requirements. You have neither problem with loose mineral. Yes, you can mix salt and mineral together. We usually mixed 1 50 lb bag of mineral with 1/3 to 1/2 of a 50 lb bag of salt. That worked for us, but it may not work for you because of the difference in our areas. As far as what type of mineral to buy, I cannot help you with that. I can, however, tell you that you probably want a higher magnesium mineral prior to the spring grass coming in to prevent grass tetanus. You might want to talk to other cattlemen in your area, your extension office, and your vet to determine what mineral would work best for your particular needs. I'm sure there are also people on here that can help you.
 

dun

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grass tetany instead of grass tetanus

The lose mineral will specify if it's to be fed with salt or not.
 

Aaron

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Blocks are a waste of money. Also, regardless of what the bag says, I would not feed mineral with salt. Feeding it with salt results in reduced consumption, and unless you have it in a feeder that allows 24/7 access out of the elements, I wouldn't do it.

I feed mineral once a week and salt whenever I feel they need it. By feeding straight mineral, the cows will consume everything they require. If you try to put out mineral the next few days afterward, 90% of the herd will not touch it. Their mineral 'hunger' needs to build up. A week allows that.

Also, in winter, feed a 2:1 mineral (double calcium amount, single phosphorus). If you feed 1:1, the cows will consume it like candy, trying satisfy their need for calcium. Consumption will be cut by over 50% if you put out 2:1 in the winter, instead of 1:1. :cowboy:
 

SRBeef

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Aaron, that is interesting about feeding mineral once a week and letting need "build up".

About the brown mineral blocks vs loose or lick tubs: good mineral is expensive. The raw materials are just plain high cost. The blocks are meant to be low cost which means low content of the expensive minerals.

Good (=expensive) mineral can save many times its cost at calving time in some areas with deficiencies. Esp with low quality winter hay.

Mixing salt and mineral forces cattle to take in salt to get the mineral they need. Better to let them decide what they need by separating salt and mineral. jmho.
 

bigbull338

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i use both block salt an mineral.as well as loose salt an mineral depending on my mood.an my cows dont really go wild over either 1.but they really like having something to lick.ive seen them take a year to eat 50lbs of loose minerals.
 

jcarkie

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some of the minerals contain salt so read the bag. they seem expensive but in the long run it pays off. i would invest in a covered mineral feeder.
 

Angus Cowman

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I feed a loose mineral and salt in a cover feeder and the cows have it free choice I put 100lb min and 50lb salt, I don't mix it but put the mineral on each end of the feeder and salt in the middle sometinmes they will consume more salt than min and vice versa
I don't agree with just feeding it once a week or or every few days and limiting how much they eat

Most minerals are designed to be fed free choice and most are designed for certain areas in the country what may work in a mineral for me in Missouri might not work in Texas or Wyoming

I also agree with MS the need for a high mag in early spring is neccesary, it also depends on your breeding season and location what minerals you need to feed and when
 

TexasBred

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Aaron":3w1jwkve said:
Blocks are a waste of money. Also, regardless of what the bag says, I would not feed mineral with salt. Feeding it with salt results in reduced consumption, and unless you have it in a feeder that allows 24/7 access out of the elements, I wouldn't do it.

I feed mineral once a week and salt whenever I feel they need it. By feeding straight mineral, the cows will consume everything they require. If you try to put out mineral the next few days afterward, 90% of the herd will not touch it. Their mineral 'hunger' needs to build up. A week allows that.

Also, in winter, feed a 2:1 mineral (double calcium amount, single phosphorus). If you feed 1:1, the cows will consume it like candy, trying satisfy their need for calcium. Consumption will be cut by over 50% if you put out 2:1 in the winter, instead of 1:1. :cowboy:

Once a week?? How much do you estimate one cow will eat that day of "mineral humger" relative to what the recommended daily mineral intake is disclosed on the bag? Many recommend 4 oz. per head per day. Will they then eat 28 oz. feeding it one day per week??? They're slug feeding mineral. Are you really meeting their needs or just wasting mineral one day a week. I have to totally disagree with this method. It may save you money but you could save even more by skipping the one day a week as well. The same for salt. Cattle need a certain amount of sodium in their diet at all times or you risk breeding problems. Might work for you but I wouldn't recommend it to others. I will agree with you on the use of 2:1 mineral most times. 99% of feed are formulated at this ratio and then we tend to use 1:1 in mineral.
 

Workinonit Farm

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Loose mineral is best, for all the reasons that everyone else has stated. I also offer loose salt, free choice. The mineral I use has some salt already in it and I do not need to 'limit' their intake of mineral. They will lick it up as they need it. Sometimes it seems they can't get enough of it, other times they hardly give it a sniff. I also use a hi-mag blend, it is a special blend for our part of Va.

As msscamp said, speak to your local extension agent, or vet, they can give you the best recommendation.

Katherine
 

dirtdoctor

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My vet told me to use any mineral w/ "Zinnpro" . Says it supposed to help the cattle utilize more of the mineral. Now I can't find it, coop says it's been replaced with "Avail" (not sure of the spellings). Anybody have an opinion on that?
At first I couldn't keep the mineral but now 50#'s last alot longer.
 

Aaron

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TexasBred":q1a00nng said:
Aaron":q1a00nng said:
Blocks are a waste of money. Also, regardless of what the bag says, I would not feed mineral with salt. Feeding it with salt results in reduced consumption, and unless you have it in a feeder that allows 24/7 access out of the elements, I wouldn't do it.

I feed mineral once a week and salt whenever I feel they need it. By feeding straight mineral, the cows will consume everything they require. If you try to put out mineral the next few days afterward, 90% of the herd will not touch it. Their mineral 'hunger' needs to build up. A week allows that.

Also, in winter, feed a 2:1 mineral (double calcium amount, single phosphorus). If you feed 1:1, the cows will consume it like candy, trying satisfy their need for calcium. Consumption will be cut by over 50% if you put out 2:1 in the winter, instead of 1:1. :cowboy:

Once a week?? How much do you estimate one cow will eat that day of "mineral humger" relative to what the recommended daily mineral intake is disclosed on the bag? Many recommend 4 oz. per head per day. Will they then eat 28 oz. feeding it one day per week??? They're slug feeding mineral. Are you really meeting their needs or just wasting mineral one day a week. I have to totally disagree with this method. It may save you money but you could save even more by skipping the one day a week as well. The same for salt. Cattle need a certain amount of sodium in their diet at all times or you risk breeding problems. Might work for you but I wouldn't recommend it to others. I will agree with you on the use of 2:1 mineral most times. 99% of feed are formulated at this ratio and then we tend to use 1:1 in mineral.

From my estimations, in the heat of breeding season, (late June, early July), feeding once a week, one of our cows will consume about 8 oz. of 1:1 mineral. If they are really in need, they may eat up to 12 oz. I worked it out, finding the optimum time lapse needed for the entire herd to crave minerals...and it is 7 days. 3 days, don't bother. 5 days..you will get a few, but not really worth it. 9 days, they are ravenous killers on the hunt. :lol2: :cowboy:
 

TexasBred

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dirtdoctor":27n2c2v9 said:
My vet told me to use any mineral w/ "Zinnpro" . Says it supposed to help the cattle utilize more of the mineral. Now I can't find it, coop says it's been replaced with "Avail" (not sure of the spellings). Anybody have an opinion on that?
At first I couldn't keep the mineral but now 50#'s last alot longer.

DD....he probably refered to "Availa-4" which is made by Zinpro Corporation. Simple "Zinpro" is zinc only in chelated form. "Availa 4" as well as Zinpro "4-Plex" is zinc, copper, manganese and cobalt in chelated form, all of which are utilized more efficiently by the cattle. Check your tag and these ingredients will be disclosed on the list of ingredients as Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Lysine Complex (I believe), etc. etc. etc. It might raise the cost of the mineral a little bit but is well worth the money.
 

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