Southern States Beef Breeder Mineral with Altosid served up in a Southern States Bull Mineral Feeder, very tough and made in the U.S.A. by Sioux Steel.
Minerals can do considerable things of economic consequence. They are important for the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems as well as reproductive functions and immune functions. Mineral requirements vary depending on the stage of production of the beef cow. For more in depth coverage on mineral nutrient requirements please see this text from the National Research Council: www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9791&page=54
Minerals are less available at different times and situations like in the winter when cattle are eating primarily hay and in the summer when cattle are on tough summer grasses that usually lack the quality of cool season grasses. In the spring and fall when cool season grasses are growing, the grass will provide more vitamins and minerals but the fast growth also causes cattle to scour and creates the potential for grass tetany. Grass tetany is life threatening and magnesium is needed for cattle that calf during that period, usually March & April or September & October. Cattle also have a heightened magnesium requirement during the 3rd trimester of gestation. Those are times to consider using a hi-mag mineral and like a primer, the cattle will benefit from having it in their system before they actually need it. Some producers will use hi-mag year round to cover a year round calving season.
Getting cattle to re-bred is probably the most economically important measure for most cattle operations and minerals can play a strong role. Magnesium is only one of the minerals with a big impact on re-breeding, the very best available option is a mineral package that includes Availa 4. Availa 4 has been tested and concluded to improve conception rates by 15.7%. Availa 4 is specifically comprised of organic copper, cobalt, manganese, and zinc. Phosphorous has been shown to improve conception, return to heat, and percentage calves weaned.
Fly-stop minerals, those containing Altosid® to control the fly population, are typically used April through September. It is suggest to start 2-3 weeks before fly season, so potentially it could start in March and if fly season runs long, used until October. Please look for horn fly under: Fly & Insect Control and note that face fly larva will be controlled if the eggs are placed in manure, but only the horn fly lays eggs solely in manure. Another summer issue comes from endophyte infected fescue. The minerals containing EndoFighter® can be used to lower body temperature caused by endophyte stress. Endophyte stress is worst when Kentucky 31 fescue heads out in late May and June.
CTC minerals contain the antibiotic chlortetracycline, also called aureomycin, and can be used during fly season, from May to November, to help with pink eye, but some people use it year round. In the winter it helps animals with weak immune systems, especially calves that lay in the cold, wet mud around hay rings keep respiratory issues in check. Anaplasmosis can be controlled with a mineral that has a CTC level of 5600g/ton.
Another type of additive are ionophores like Rumensin® and Bovatec®. These products are used mostly by producers to add gain on stocker calves and to prevent coccidiosis. These two additives will increase feed efficiency by 5% to 7% and gains by 15% or about 90lb added to average weaning weights versus trace mineral salt. Rumensin® and Bovatec® are both deadly to horses and donkeys with Rumensin® being fatal at a tenth of the dose of Bovatec®. Ionophores affect the microflora in the gut of beef cattle by targeting less beneficial bacteria and allowing the better bacteria to thrive. Ionophore molecules makes their way through the GI tract and never enter the tissue of the animal. There is no slaughter withdrawal for ruminating cattle.
Brood cows use a 2-1 Calcium to Phosphorous ratio. Some minerals' namesake is based on this ratio. Calcium and Phosphorous are macro minerals and are needed to make milk and bone. Phosphorous is typically pretty expensive, so more economical minerals have lower levels of phosphorous and are getting more and more recognition as water quality is leading farmers in that direction. Phosphorous, however, is very important to reproduction and also has been shown to increase weaning weights by 20lb. Beyond major or macro minerals, there are also trace or micro minerals, and those topics are covered in two articles below.
The minerals we stock year round are shown in the following comparative chart.
|Stocked Mineral Chart||Phosphate||Mag||Antibiotic||Flystop|
|Beef Mineral Hi-Mag||X|
|Beef Mineral w/Altosid®||X|
Where X indicates a qualifying mineral.
We do not stock all of the minerals made by Southern States Cooperative®, but we can have them available on an average basis of 7-10 days. More details about specific minerals are provided from the list in the article below. An even more extensive list of Southern States beef mineral can be found here: www.southernstates.com/catalog/c-2125-bagged-minerals.aspx. Southern States will also make custom minerals for customers with at least a 3 ton order.
Mineral intake will fluctuate and normally does so with the season. Higher levels of water content in forages during the spring and fall will increase mineral intake because cattle will need more to maintain their sodium balance. The opposite, a lower intake occurs during the summer when forages dry out and the winter when cattle are eating hay. The recommended intake on mineral labels is the average of these fluctuating conditions through out the year.
Mineral labels specify the average intake an animal should have on a per day basis. When the minerals are given free choice, the number of days that one bag of mineral should last can be calculated using a per head basis. Salt is contained in the mineral and should be the only form of available salt to the animals. It is salt that determines the intake of the animal. If the animals are eating the mineral faster than calculated, the mineral should be moved further from the closest water source. If intake is not high enough, the mineral should be moved closer to the water source. The correct amount of intake insures that the animal is getting the proper amount of medication, calcium, phosphorous, etc. If the animal does not get enough of something, especially, medications, it will not meet the intended need.
Example: If a mineral has a feeding rate of 4oz per head per day for a 20 cow herd, the number of days that it should last are as follows: A 50lb bag has 800oz (50lbx16oz = 800oz per bag). Then at a 4oz feeding rate, it would equal 200 feedings (800oz/4oz per feeding = 200). A 20 cow herd should eat a bag of mineral every 10 days (200 feedings/20 cows per day = 10days). Feeding rates lower than 4oz per day will increase the number of days that a bag of mineral should last.
Note: cattle that have been without any salt or mineral will burn through it much, much faster in an effort to catch up which can be expensive and wasteful. We recommend using a cheaper basic mineral or salt initially to get through the period of rapid consumption and then following the desired mineral regiment. An initial burn through product if needed should be done early enough that the desired mineral program will be in place during the desired time period.
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Beef Macro Minerals
Macro minerals are needed in larger amounts than other minerals and are given in % of total diet, like crude protein, fat, and fiber. Macro minerals include: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chlorine, and sulfur. Calcium and phosphorus most major and make up the ratios that minerals are sometimes identified by, such as 2:1 mineral.
Please use this article for a more details involving specific macro or major minerals: www.thebeefsite.com/articles/1549/mineral-and-vitamin-nutrition-for-beef-cattle/
Beef Trace Minerals
Micro minerals, more commonly known as trace minerals. Although trace mineral salt and salt blocks are available, nutritionist suggest that the animals cannot eat enough because of the salt to meet the mineral requirements and of course it does not include the minerals that cattle need the most of (macro minerals). Overall TM salt has little advantage over white salt, especially when considering the cost.
These minerals when they are actually available are needed in very small amounts and are typically listed in parts per million, ppm. They include: chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, and zinc. For our area, selenium and copper would be the most limiting. Forages would probably only provide 50% of the copper needed during the peak availability. We would suggest supplementing copper and selenium 100% during the year where affordable, with winter being the most critical season, but the stage of gestation/lactation being the most determinant factor.
Please use this article for a more details involving specific trace or micro minerals: www.thebeefsite.com/articles/1549/mineral-and-vitamin-nutrition-for-beef-cattle/