Minerals!!

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faster horses

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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.
I will have to check on that. I know our calcium comes from the south. I know our CTC is from the USA. The rest I intend to find out.
 

faster horses

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Thank you Senator.
Legumes have a much higher mineral profile than most grasses...so you need a good mix of clovers in your pasture, maybe some alfalfa.
Some places....don't grow much alfalfa or clover...it's in limited supply.
We wintered our cows on grass hay and mineral and had zero problems. We just fed
enough of the grass hay. If they didn't clean it up in the morning, we didn't cut them back the next day because they would go through it in the afternoon and clean it up.
 

wbvs58

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At the end of the day it comes down to what cravings drive them to the mineral feeder and I know that the two main minerals that give them a craving to lick the mineral are Phosphorous and Sodium. Phosphorous in particular, dry winter pastures can be low but also lush fast growing pastures and forage crops will have them visiting the mineral feeder. Australia is very low in phosphorous and in remote Northern Australia big gains in fertility can be made by supplementing Phosphorous.

Ken
 

TexasBred

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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!
At the end of the day it comes down to what cravings drive them to the mineral feeder and I know that the two main minerals that give them a craving to lick the mineral are Phosphorous and Sodium. Phosphorous in particular, dry winter pastures can be low but also lush fast growing pastures and forage crops will have them visiting the mineral feeder. Australia is very low in phosphorous and in remote Northern Australia big gains in fertility can be made by supplementing Phosphorous.

Ken
 

TexasBred

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Faster Horses 27 years of selling Vigortone so you just have to give us the Vigortone sales pitch. Not touching your post as so much of it is just a sales pitch. For the record chelates are the best and affordable and the higher quality chelates will be disclosed on the list of ingredients as amino acid complexes except cobalt which will be cobalt glucoheptonate. As for grain by-products everyone uses something to make mineral palatable. Don’t worry about them being a waste of money. Excessive calcium is a much bigger waste. At $25 a ton it’s a great bargain for the mineral company especially when it sells for $1200 a ton in a bag of mineral. Vita fern makes a really good mineral with chelates as does Purina (don’t worry about that digestive tract being able to utilize it.
 

FungusProudKY31

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From experience - minerals are needed here. Do you need minerals? Either learn by doing or find a reputable advisor. We have used enough chicken litter that we are feeding a "zero P" mineral now and it works great for a good discount. Seen plenty of cheap mineral and no mineral wrecks. Try it, you will not like it if your beasts need them. And cheap minerals are truly that.
 

Banjo

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Some places....don't grow much alfalfa or clover...it's in limited supply.
We wintered our cows on grass hay and mineral and had zero problems. We just fed
enough of the grass hay. If they didn't clean it up in the morning, we didn't cut them back the next day because they would go through it in the afternoon and clean it up.
What your location?.... Some places in the country or some places on your farm doesn't grow much legumes?
 

puzzled in oregon

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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.
"cows that don't want to push when in labor", that got my attention. Are there protein - mineral combination products ?
 

BFE

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Faster Horses 27 years of selling Vigortone so you just have to give us the Vigortone sales pitch. Not touching your post as so much of it is just a sales pitch. For the record chelates are the best and affordable and the higher quality chelates will be disclosed on the list of ingredients as amino acid complexes except cobalt which will be cobalt glucoheptonate. As for grain by-products everyone uses something to make mineral palatable. Don’t worry about them being a waste of money. Excessive calcium is a much bigger waste. At $25 a ton it’s a great bargain for the mineral company especially when it sells for $1200 a ton in a bag of mineral. Vita fern makes a really good mineral with chelates as does Purina (don’t worry about that digestive tract being able to utilize it.
And, given that information, looks like I'll be sticking with the Purina W&R. paying 21-26 dollars a bag, depending on what I'm putting out at the time (hi-mag, 7% phos, fly control).
 

gcreekrch

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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.
Good to have you here FH, you will find out soon enough who is what. Lots of good people here who will benefit. As you have learned, the naysayers will sort themselves.
A mineral built for our ranch has been a real game changer here. Those that scoff likely have never tried to change. How would they know the difference if they have never ventured out of the cocoon?
 

faster horses

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What your location?.... Some places in the country or some places on your farm doesn't grow much legumes?
SE Montana, gumbo ground isn't conductive to raising alfalfa.
Good to have you here FH, you will find out soon enough who is what. Lots of good people here who will benefit. As you have learned, the naysayers will sort themselves.
A mineral built for our ranch has been a real game changer here. Those that scoff likely have never tried to change. How would they know the difference if they have never ventured out of the cocoon?
Thanks, gcreek. We were glad to be a help to you on planning your mineral program and that it made a difference in many ways to your cow herd. Gosh, that was how many years ago??? Hoping to make it up there again; it's definitely on our radar.
 
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gcreekrch

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SE Montana, gumbo ground isn't conductive to raising alfalfa.

Thanks, gcreek. We were glad to be a help to you on planning your mineral program and that it made a difference in many ways to your cow herd. Gosh, that was how many years ago??? Hoping to make it up there again; it's definitely on our radar.
You’re welcome, several who I had respect for added to our decisions in making a mineral recipe that fir OUR ranch. It is custom mixed at a feed mill at Grinrod BC. No company name on it other that the mill that sells to us. The hay produced on our ranch is at 350% required calcium and 250% required phosphorus so we do have some DDGs added to take up space. No salt as we mix Cobalt loose in with the mineral to keep consumption where required. Rumensin and BioMoss added for their qualities that I have discussed here before. The results have been fantastic considering winter and calving herd health.
Interesting to note that our cattle refuse mineral in the summer, my guess is our grass is close enough to what they require. They do eat salt provided though.
Last winter we paid $1680 per metric ton in bulk bags delivered to our main business center. This is a 6 to 7 hour haul for them.
 

Nesikep

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You’re welcome, several who I had respect for added to our decisions in making a mineral recipe that fir OUR ranch. It is custom mixed at a feed mill at Grinrod BC. No company name on it other that the mill that sells to us. The hay produced on our ranch is at 350% required calcium and 250% required phosphorus so we do have some DDGs added to take up space. No salt as we mix Cobalt loose in with the mineral to keep consumption where required. Rumensin and BioMoss added for their qualities that I have discussed here before. The results have been fantastic considering winter and calving herd health.
Interesting to note that our cattle refuse mineral in the summer, my guess is our grass is close enough to what they require. They do eat salt provided though.
Last winter we paid $1680 per metric ton in bulk bags delivered to our main business center. This is a 6 to 7 hour haul for them.
I think I'd do well with your mineral as well, do you have a spec sheet for it? I've been using the "Supreme" from the Williams lake feed store for the past while

Also, a "good mineral" means nothing if you're just going by the brand name on the bag, I think the "RIGHT mineral" is far more important... Things I know about my place, REALLY low in Copper, Phosphorus and Selenium... I know this because I had a test done, and it matches the symptoms I used to have..

I wish they'd have had a molybenum test done here (antagonist to copper), and about 10 miles away as the crow flies with have "Molybdenite creek"... My problem may not be so much as that we have not enough copper, but too much molybdenum and it prevents absorbtion?

Tizia blood test results1.jpg
Tizia blood test results2.jpg
 

faster horses

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You’re welcome, several who I had respect for added to our decisions in making a mineral recipe that fir OUR ranch. It is custom mixed at a feed mill at Grinrod BC. No company name on it other that the mill that sells to us. The hay produced on our ranch is at 350% required calcium and 250% required phosphorus so we do have some DDGs added to take up space. No salt as we mix Cobalt loose in with the mineral to keep consumption where required. Rumensin and BioMoss added for their qualities that I have discussed here before. The results have been fantastic considering winter and calving herd health.
Interesting to note that our cattle refuse mineral in the summer, my guess is our grass is close enough to what they require. They do eat salt provided though.
Last winter we paid $1680 per metric ton in bulk bags delivered to our main business center. This is a 6 to 7 hour haul for them.
Understandable. You can't force feed loose mineral. Our cows did not eat the required amount throughout the year. Jack kept diligent records and ours ate 2.7 oz/hd/day. We had a lot of gumbo and in those pastures, they ate very little, but we kept it out. We tested the grass and the gumbo has a lot of phos and phos is a limiter, so therefore, they didn't eat much mineral. We did use a mineral low in phos. The bottom line, our herd health and conception, calf weaning weights, were are more than fine, so we didn't worry about it. I think the calves ate more on the gumbo than the cows did, but that was okay because they need it too. Our herd health was awesome; and we had before mineral calf health to compare to.

Interesting that one customer had cows that were going down during winter. The vet said it was from milk fever. But they hadn't calved yet. We did some research and found it was winter tetany. They were feeding straight wheat hay and the phos in the hay caused the cows
to back off the mineral. So when lower phos mineral was provided, the cows went back to consuming the right amount of mineral and the cows stopped going down. Experiences like that help many producers. That's the type of thing that has been the reward in all this. Helping producers.
 

TexasBred

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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.
Bob you can be sure the vitamins came from China. Minerals have many sources. Seriously doubt the mineral manufacturer could even determine the source without a lot of research
 

wbvs58

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You’re welcome, several who I had respect for added to our decisions in making a mineral recipe that fir OUR ranch. It is custom mixed at a feed mill at Grinrod BC. No company name on it other that the mill that sells to us. The hay produced on our ranch is at 350% required calcium and 250% required phosphorus so we do have some DDGs added to take up space. No salt as we mix Cobalt loose in with the mineral to keep consumption where required. Rumensin and BioMoss added for their qualities that I have discussed here before. The results have been fantastic considering winter and calving herd health.
Interesting to note that our cattle refuse mineral in the summer, my guess is our grass is close enough to what they require. They do eat salt provided though.
Last winter we paid $1680 per metric ton in bulk bags delivered to our main business center. This is a 6 to 7 hour haul for them.
Dave, what were the major deficiencies identified on your place? What were the specific benefits that you observed?

Ken
 

sim.-ang.king

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If you want to know if you should use mineral, or of what mixtures. There is three thing you can do that will actually tell you, (and it's not talk to three salesmen.)
Soil samples, forage samples, and blood and liver samples.
Soil samples are super easy, forage samples are time consuming, and blood and liver samples are the hardest. This will also save you on fertilizer. ;)
 

gcreekrch

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Dave, what were the major deficiencies identified on your place? What were the specific benefits that you observed?

Ken
Molybdenum too high, nearly toxic level of copper to offset. Selenium was closer to adequate than previously believe. Scour calves are almost nonexsistant compared to earlier years treating 90%. Very few retained placenta. General herd health has improved.
 

C-Ranch

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Since on the topic of using mineral, does anyone add Rabon 7.76% to their mineral to control flys? Or perhaps Clarify or some other brand? If so what were your results/thoughts?
 

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