Minerals!!

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ksmit454

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I found out an interesting thing about minerals, and I wanted to share it with you all (although it might just be me that does not know this fact about minerals lol!). Long story short, I work at a feed store, and obviously we supply all sorts of minerals, loose and block forms. I had a customer request a loose mineral for their cattle that contained “chelated” minerals, which their veterinarian recommended. I had not heard that term before. I ended up calling the rep from our mineral supply company, and he explained what Chelated minerals are. Minerals such as copper, zinc, and manganese, are bound with an amino acid. On the mineral tag, those minerals are followed with the word “Hydroxychloride”. This makes them “chelated” minerals, and the benefit is that the minerals are 100% absorbed. On the contrary, minerals that are NOT chelated, are only 25%-50% absorbed... I found this extremely interesting! And I also want to reconsider my mineral options for the operation. Anyway, just wanted to share because I found it really interesting!
 

sstterry

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I found out an interesting thing about minerals, and I wanted to share it with you all (although it might just be me that does not know this fact about minerals lol!). Long story short, I work at a feed store, and obviously we supply all sorts of minerals, loose and block forms. I had a customer request a loose mineral for their cattle that contained “chelated” minerals, which their veterinarian recommended. I had not heard that term before. I ended up calling the rep from our mineral supply company, and he explained what Chelated minerals are. Minerals such as copper, zinc, and manganese, are bound with an amino acid. On the mineral tag, those minerals are followed with the word “Hydroxychloride”. This makes them “chelated” minerals, and the benefit is that the minerals are 100% absorbed. On the contrary, minerals that are NOT chelated, are only 25%-50% absorbed... I found this extremely interesting! And I also want to reconsider my mineral options for the operation. Anyway, just wanted to share because I found it really interesting!
There was a former member on here (he went by Bright Raven at the time) who was trained as a scientist. If you search the archives, he had some very informative posts on the bio-availability of minerals.
 

CPHerefords

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I'd appreciate someone doing a 'class' if you will, on nutrition including minerals. Around here I'm kind of limited on types of hay, brands of feed stocked locally as well as minerals. Is brand x better than brand y even though it cheaper or more expensive. I can read the labels but really it gives you a percentage and that's about it. Is it (vitamin, protein, mineral) in a usable form and so on. I can buy the brand that has the highest percentage of X but it'll have less of Y. The roughage doesn't say what it is and I figure it varies by season and area of the country so I've no idea what it is. I've tried figuring it all out and have had no luck really. Sometimes I feel like I'm wasting a lot of money and not getting the most for my cattle per dollar. Here in south Texas I'm sure our needs and what's available vary greatly from what is in the north....
 

sstterry

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Hay analysis would only be available if you did a forage test on it because each field can be different. Several members here, in the past, have recommended VitaFerm as a good mineral for bioavailability. But, it is more expensive.
 

angus9259

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Ahhhh the great mystery that is minerals. I put them out. Every time I do I wonder if I'm wasting my money. All evidence I've seen is more anecdotal than scientific.... but I keep putting it out there.... now with "chelated" - which is in many breed back formulas - makes me wonder even more.
 

BFE

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There's a man in Ohio somewhere that runs hundreds of head of cattle that claims he can't tell a difference in anything from expensive to cheap minerals over the years other than the money going out. I have to wonder, the best cows do their thing no matter what, the worst do too. Mineral is a big expense, I use Wind and Rain because it's locally available. Sometimes wonder if I couldn't do just as good with something $10 a bag cheaper.
 

faster horses

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Ksmit 454, thanks for starting this thread and good for you for wanting to know more in that you called your rep with questions. The industry needs more like you, because when a producer comes in to buy mineral, they appreciate someone who can answer questions and give them a feeling of confidence in what they are buying. I can't stress the importance of this.

I will try to tell you what I have learned about mineral. in 27+years. All mineral is not created equal.
1.) Look at the tag and if you see 'processed grain by-products' that is not a good mineral. You are paying for grain. Sure, it most likely will be cheaper, but not always. And bottom line, it's not as effective, doesn't hold up well in the elements, either.
2). Particle size is important. That's what keeps mineral from bonding together in the elements.
Coarse mineral will clump, like concrete, or even set up in your mineral feeder. I have a problem with Wind and Rain mineral in that it is coated with something so that it stands up to the elements. So, if it stands up to moisture in the feeder, how much of it is available to the cow, since the cows internal system uses moisture to break the mineral down. Availability is everything.
3). Do not doubt that mineral does a LOT of good. It balances your feed/forage so that cattle are getting what is missing in their diet. A good mineral salesman/woman will have forage analysis of what is needed in your area. When things are balanced cattle perform better; that has been proven.
4.)Buy from a company who spends their research on mineral. Lots of FEED companies are now making mineral, but that's not their primary concern. IMO.
5.)Find someone who offers tech support. Don't just go into a store and buy what they have on the shelf.
6). Be on a year round mineral program. You can't feed it, then not feed it. The cattle will overeat the mineral for awhile, trying to get their copper stores up in their liver. So if you feed mineral for 6 months, they will overeat it for a time. You can feed mineral year-round or feed it for 6 months and the cattle will consume about the same amount of mineral for the year. So why not keep it out. Calves eat the mineral; the yeast in it helps them break down their feed and they will gain more weight. A year round mineral program has lots of benefits. Heavier calves, better breed back, better herd health are three of the biggest benefits.
7.) Quality and Quantity of forage dictates mineral consumption. You can use mineral consumption as a management tool. The cows won't lie to you. If they are hitting the mineral hard and you move them to a fresh pasture, you will find they back off the mineral. Happens every time.
8.)Feed LOOSE mineral, not a mineral block because cattle will get tired of licking (same with salt) and walk away before their mineral requirements have been met.
9,) There is some strategy to feeding loose mineral as efficiently as possible, for instance where to place the tubs, how many tubs to put out; a good mineral representative will help you with that. Don't feel like you are on your own with no one to answer your questions. I understand that feeling. We were there for years.
10.)There are many additives to loose mineral which will make your life easier. Bio-Moss; IGR; Garlic; BovaTech; Rumensin; CTC to name a few. Even deworming with mineral with SafeGuard will allow you to deworm at strategic times so you don't have to gather the cattle. It works WONDERFULLY and will help clean up your pastures.
11.) Don't just look at the analysis on the bag of mineral, look at the INGREDIENTS. Do you see yeast culture; do you see Vit E? There are things to look for and hopefully the clerk in the store can answer your questions.
12.)Consider mineral an investment, not just a cost. Your cattle will stay in the herd longer and that's very important. Even the heifers you retain when their mothers were on mineral, will pay you dividends over the years.

This was information in a nutshell. I wrote this in a hurry so feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to answer them. Feeding free-choice mineral can make you pull your hair out. They eat mineral in peaks and valleys, but if you keep track, at the end of the year you will find they will pretty much eat the requirement--3 to 4 oz per head per day.

Also, with chelates, only about 30% of zinc and copper are chelated. I have sold mineral for 27 years and the only time I have sold chelated mineral is to a veterinarian who was doing embryo transplants and did not have his cattle on a year-round mineral program. The cost is quite a bit more and with our mineral, we haven't seen a need for it.

I hope this helps!
 
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Nesikep

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I did a writeup on mineral deficiencies (let me know if the link doesn't work)

Bioavailability is often closely linked to solubility, Oxides don't dissolve well at all (I think magnesium is an exception), sulphates and phosphates dissolve quite readily.. I think only the lowest grade of minerals would use oxides.

Yes, chealated minerals might be better, but at what cost and is it going to pay off.. there's a point where it's more economical to just increase the amount of said mineral over using a much more expensive but only slightly more bioavailable form.. where exactly that line is I"m not sure and is certainly up for debate.
 

BFE

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Ksmit 454, thanks for starting this thread and good for you for wanting to know more in that you called your rep with questions. The industry needs more like you, because when a producer comes in to buy mineral, they appreciate someone who can answer questions and give them a feeling of confidence in what they are buying. I can't stress the importance of this.

I will try to tell you what I have learned about mineral. in 27+years. All mineral is not created equal.
1.) Look at the tag and if you see 'processed grain by-products' that is not a good mineral. You are paying for grain. Sure, it most likely will be cheaper, but not always. And bottom line, it's not as effective, doesn't hold up well in the elements, either.
2). Particle size is important. That's what keeps mineral from bonding together in the elements.
Coarse mineral will clump, like concrete, or even set up in your mineral feeder. I have a problem with Wind and Rain mineral in that it is coated with something so that it stands up to the elements. So, if it stands up to moisture in the feeder, how much of it is available to the cow, since the cows internal system uses moisture to break the mineral down. Availability is everything.
3). Do not doubt that mineral does a LOT of good. It balances your feed/forage so that cattle are getting what is missing in their diet. A good mineral salesman/woman will have forage analysis of what is needed in your area. When things are balanced cattle perform better; that has been proven.
4.)Buy from a company who spends their research on mineral. Lots of FEED companies are now making mineral, but that's not their primary concern. IMO.
5.)Find someone who offers tech support. Don't just go into a store and buy what they have on the shelf.
6). Be on a year round mineral program. You can't feed it, then not feed it. The cattle will overeat the mineral for awhile, trying to get their copper stores up in their liver. So if you feed mineral for 6 months, they will overeat it for a time. You can feed mineral year-round or feed it for 6 months and the cattle will consume about the same amount of mineral for the year. So why not keep it out. Calves eat the mineral; the yeast in it helps them break down their feed and they will gain more weight. A year round mineral program has lots of benefits. Heavier calves, better breed back, better herd health are three of the biggest benefits.
7.) Quality and Quantity of forage dictates mineral consumption. You can use mineral consumption as a management tool. The cows won't lie to you. If they are hitting the mineral hard and you move them to a fresh pasture, you will find they back off the mineral. Happens every time.
8.)Feed LOOSE mineral, not a mineral block because cattle will get tired of licking (same with salt) and walk away before their mineral requirements have been met.
9,) There is some strategy to feeding loose mineral as efficiently as possible, for instance where to place the tubs, how many tubs to put out; a good mineral representative will help you with that. Don't feel like you are on your own with no one to answer your questions. I understand that feeling. We were there for years.
10.)There are many additives to loose mineral which will make your life easier. Bio-Moss; IGR; Garlic; BovaTech; Rumensin; CTC to name a few. Even deworming with mineral with SafeGuard will allow you to deworm at strategic times so you don't have to gather the cattle. It works WONDERFULLY and will help clean up your pastures.
11.) Don't just look at the analysis on the bag of mineral, look at the INGREDIENTS. Do you see yeast culture; do you see Vit E? There are things to look for and hopefully the clerk in the store can answer your questions.
12.)Consider mineral an investment, not just a cost. Your cattle will stay in the herd longer and that's very important. Even the heifers you retain when their mothers were on mineral, will pay you dividends over the years.

This was information in a nutshell. I wrote this in a hurry so feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to answer them. Feeding free-choice mineral can make you pull your hair out. They eat mineral in peaks and valleys, but if you keep track, at the end of the year you will find they will pretty much eat the requirement--3 to 4 oz per head per day.

Also, with chelates, only about 30% of zinc and copper are chelated. I have sold mineral for 27 years and the only time I have sold chelated mineral is to a veterinarian who was doing embryo transplants and did not have his cattle on a year-round mineral program. The cost is quite a bit more and with our mineral, we haven't seen a need for it.

I hope this helps!
So... what do you sell?
 

callmefence

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Im in the are you sure you need mineral at all camp. Most of the bigger outfits I know if don't spend much on mineral. I don't. I have and didn't see any benefits. Cattle being feed grain in a trough or grazing pure improved paddocks makes sense. But cattle grazing freely might not need any mineral at all. I try to stay out of the feed store as much as possible.
 

Buck Randall

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There's a man in Ohio somewhere that runs hundreds of head of cattle that claims he can't tell a difference in anything from expensive to cheap minerals over the years other than the money going out. I have to wonder, the best cows do their thing no matter what, the worst do too. Mineral is a big expense, I use Wind and Rain because it's locally available. Sometimes wonder if I couldn't do just as good with something $10 a bag cheaper.
A lot of it depends on what kind of operation you're running. Especially in low input or poorly managed herds, there are lots of practices that individually aren't going to make a difference. If you've got cattle running in the woods with a bull year round and you only catch them up a couple times a year, the expensive mineral probably isn't doing much for your bottom line. If you're trying to maintain a 45 day calving season, using a lot of AI, and recording birth and weaning weights for registered stock, that mineral is worth every penny.

Sometimes marginal differences that aren't visible add up. The average producer isn't going to be able to tell if their mineral increased conception rates by a couple percentage points or made their calves 10 pounds heavier at weaning. That's why we rely on case-control studies.
 

TennesseeTuxedo

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cjmc

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I found out an interesting thing about minerals, and I wanted to share it with you all (although it might just be me that does not know this fact about minerals lol!). Long story short, I work at a feed store, and obviously we supply all sorts of minerals, loose and block forms. I had a customer request a loose mineral for their cattle that contained “chelated” minerals, which their veterinarian recommended. I had not heard that term before. I ended up calling the rep from our mineral supply company, and he explained what Chelated minerals are. Minerals such as copper, zinc, and manganese, are bound with an amino acid. On the mineral tag, those minerals are followed with the word “Hydroxychloride”. This makes them “chelated” minerals, and the benefit is that the minerals are 100% absorbed. On the contrary, minerals that are NOT chelated, are only 25%-50% absorbed... I found this extremely interesting! And I also want to reconsider my mineral options for the operation. Anyway, just wanted to share because I found it really interesting!
Technical correction here. The term "Chelated" refers to a type of chemical bond between the metal & an organic molecule. This is an "umbrella term" for organic trace minerals. There are many types of organic trace minerals on market and the most well known would be Availa sold by Zinpro. Those are a specific amino acid complexes, you will also see terms such as "proteinates, polysaccharide complex, amino acid complex, amino acid chelate, and some others". All of the above are organic trace minerals (because the compound contains carbon). In general they are more bio-available than sulfate and oxide bonded metals. Complicated part, not all the above are equal in cost or in bio-availability.

Hydroxychlorides are not an chelated/organic trace mineral. But their bio-availability is similar to organic trace minerals. This is because of their covalent bond. They have gained popularity among nutritionists and feed companies in recent years as they are less expensive than organics and therefore can be used at a higher rate in the minerals for a similar cost (and for other reasons that get a little too deep for this forum). For example most minerals using organics only provide roughly 25-33% of the minerals in the organic form (the rest are sulfates and oxides) while they Hydroxy's are often used at 75-100% of the formula.

None of the above TM's are 100% available. The % you see are RELATIVE availabilities. They all reference a standard that was set probably about 75 years ago when the research in TM's started. So for instance Hydroxy's have research showing bio-availability of around 150-200% depending on what metal you look at. That's because about 1.5-2 times the amount was absorbed compared to the standard that was set years ago. Some is till coming out the back end though.

If you would like to learn more about them the company that sells them has a website. The company is micronutrients, the trace mineral products discussed here are called intellibond.
 

simme

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Timeline of mineral usage:
1. Don't use minerals for years because you and your father and neighbors never used minerals. Seemed to do OK without them.
2. Something bad occurs - lots of retained placentas, cows that don't want to push when in labor, lots of open cows, red tinged hair on black cows, cows not shedding well, cows suddenly not doing as well and just looking off. One or more of those things occur.
3. Consult with a nutrition expert, your extension person, the guy at the feed store or a trusted friend in the cattle business with a lot of cattle. They mention a dozen things you should be doing including feeding a good mineral. They recommend their favorite. It is usually an expensive one.
4. You implement about half of the expert's recommendations including a good mineral program.
5. The problems seem to go away. You are relieved that you and the expert solved the problem. But unsure which recommendation contributed most to the solution.
6. After a few years with no problems, you realize that these recommendations are expensive and wonder if you really need to spend that money on those minerals. After all, you went many years without those and seemed to do OK.
7. You stop the minerals and seem to be OK for several years.
8. Go to item 2 and start the cycle again.

I feed a mineral year round. I don't know if it is worth the money or not.
 

faster horses

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Timeline of mineral usage:
1. Don't use minerals for years because you and your father and neighbors never used minerals. Seemed to do OK without them.
2. Something bad occurs - lots of retained placentas, cows that don't want to push when in labor, lots of open cows, red tinged hair on black cows, cows not shedding well, cows suddenly not doing as well and just looking off. One or more of those things occur.
3. Consult with a nutrition expert, your extension person, the guy at the feed store or a trusted friend in the cattle business with a lot of cattle. They mention a dozen things you should be doing including feeding a good mineral. They recommend their favorite. It is usually an expensive one.
4. You implement about half of the expert's recommendations including a good mineral program.
5. The problems seem to go away. You are relieved that you and the expert solved the problem. But unsure which recommendation contributed most to the solution.
6. After a few years with no problems, you realize that these recommendations are expensive and wonder if you really need to spend that money on those minerals. After all, you went many years without those and seemed to do OK.
7. You stop the minerals and seem to be OK for several years.
8. Go to item 2 and start the cycle again.

I feed a mineral year round. I don't know if it is worth the money or not.
I like your post and I can tell you "it's worth it."
I still have my first customer from 1994. He's not in it to buy mineral as the "thing" to do.
My customers are pretty much from SE Montana. They use mineral because it makes them money, not because they like me.

One customer told me "when doing my taxes, my accountant noted that the mineral column was quite long, but the veterinary column was quite empty." Producers are getting older and who has the time or inclination to have to doctor sick cattle? Feeding a quality mineral keeps cattle healthy. We went from doctoring 95% of our calves, and many more than once, BEFORE we got on a mineral program. From there we went to basically doctoring nothing. At the most we bought the smallest bottle of antibiotic and wound up throwing some of it away because it got old. Our customers report doing the same.

85-90% breed up in 45 days is not uncommon. One customer only keeps bull with his replacement heifers for 22 days. He sells very few opens.

Simme, you said "red tinged hair". We had that big time. We tried everything to figure out why. No one had the answer; not veterinarians, not feed salesmen, not universities, not county agents. I contacted them all. No one knew. We even moved across Montana to try and help ourselves. We were about to quit. Long story short, the Vigortone mineral Area Sales Manger came and he knew immediately what was wrong. The 'red tinged hair' is a sign of copper deficiency and we had it big time. We got on the mineral program and changed our life. Those pictures he took that day are used in a before and after slide show. What an eye opener.

One more thing, if you don't feed mineral, you are walking a tightrope and anything could make you fall. That's what happened to us. We bought some registered cows that calved the end of January. The first cow that calved in that bunch, the calf got sick and from then on 95% of our calves got sick and had to be doctored; many more than once. They had no immune system. Believe me when I say, mineral enhances immune system of cattle. We also found out later, like 5 years later, from John Patterson at MSU, that they had done testing where we were and there were sulfates in the water, which ties up copper and zinc. So, those cows we bought brought something in. We were NOT on a mineral program and the calves got sick. That went on for 8 years! We were about to quit; but we moved. First calving season at the new place, the calves got sick. From getting a high fever, then they would get sours, diptheria, over-eating, pneumonia, they got anything and everything. We were devastated. So the next year 1994, we were introduced to Vigortone mineral. What a difference that made and it made it that same year. We were never without it since.

This is a testimony and meant as such. Sorry it got so lengthy.
 

BobDole

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My concern over any brand of mineral is where the additives are sourced from. I believe 98% (maybe 100%) come from China. Those vitamins and minerals contain heavy metals like cadmium. I know....the Chinese would never contaminate anything shipped to the U.S.
 

TennesseeTuxedo

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My concern over any brand of mineral is where the additives are sourced from. I believe 98% (maybe 100%) come from China. Those vitamins and minerals contain heavy metals like cadmium. I know....the Chinese would never contaminate anything shipped to the U.S.
Thank you Senator.
 

Banjo

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Legumes have a much higher mineral profile than most grasses...so you need a good mix of clovers in your pasture, maybe some alfalfa.
 

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