Category: Mineral

AG Talk – quote for grazing. Keep it Simple

Don’t seed or fertilize anything. Buy a couple of OBriens reels, poly wire and step in pigtails (Kencove Fence) and a good solar fencer. Max investment $1,600.00, utilize high stock density grazing to get this 10 year dormant grass back in shape. You don’t need fertilizer if your grazing properly with daily moves allowing for the required amount of rest. 30 days is not enough rest, your going to run out of grass. A 30 day rotation is fine for one turn, but then every subsequent turn after that will get faster. Meaning your grass was not rested enough to re-graze. You eventually exhaust the root reserves and its just like driving a truck 50 miles a day and only putting in enough gas for 30 miles of driving at the end of each day. Its only a matter of time and your going to be out of gas, The grass is the same way, its fuel tank (root reserves) must be refueled to full capacity before you return to graze again or your going to run out of grass. You will likely have lots of waste (trampled grass) in this 10 year dormant grass, that should not be viewed as a problem. That trampled grass is what feeds the mini critters in the soil, and they are needed to recycle all the manure urine and trampled grass back into new vigorous grass growth naturally. Fertilizers Herbicides, Insecticides all work against the soil microbes and drastically reduce the presence of Earth Worms as well. Cows, grass and fencing to control their grazing is all you need. And here is the hardest part, put all the seed fertilizer herbicide and equipment money in the bank and leave it there. You can not buy your way to prosperity. The best place you can spend money is by buying a good style cafeteria mineral feeder and keep it stocked with the 11 different minerals (less than $200,00 worth of minerals) keep it supplied as they consume the minerals. It will change often as far as what they need. Then stand back and let the Cows do the work for you. The goal is to extend the grazing season as long as you can. It gets better in time as your learning curve progresses. Spend time observing your stock, what they are doing and what is happening in your grass as it improves. Clovers will come back naturally as will other grasses that may not be there now. Every day you don’t feed hay is like putting those dollars directly into your pocket. Those Canadian Thistles are like Candy to a Cow, mine eat them to the ground, high Calcium makes them a treat to a Cows appetite. The seed bank is already in the soil it just needs hoof action to kick it into the growth mode. If bragging rights are important to you then you should be warned the learning curve is not straight up. The learning curve is actually an inverse curve, you will make mistakes, its sort of like jumping off a cliff. But hang in there and be brave because most people bail out just before they would have started to make some noticeable gains at the bottom of the learning curve. With persistence and some self discipline you will be a winner. Just let the Cows do their thing they will show you how its done. Fence control, proper rest of the grass with water and minerals are all you need. All else is just like recreational tillage. There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all “Pete Drucker”
If you have problems or questions as you progress let me know, there is usually a simple solution to any problems that arise. E-mail is good, and good luck with the grazing, don’t let anybody convince you it will never work!! Prove them wrong

Dispelling Cattle Mineral Supplementation Myths

by  | Nov 15, 2019 | Beef CattleLivestock

There are a number of myths, hearsay, and misinformation that surround mineral supplementation for the beef cow herd. In the following I’ve listed ten of my favorites a

1.  Cows know what minerals they need.

Cows, like people, have no inherent knowledge of their nutritional needs, particularly when it comes to minerals. Cows will seek salt, but that does not translate to an understanding of mineral requirements. Since cows can’t read, they have no way of learning what their mineral requirements are during the production cycle, thus they depend upon us to provide appropriate mineral supplements. Likewise, offering cows a buffet of minerals to pick and choose what they want doesn’t work. Multiple individual minerals set out for free choice consumption has never worked. In that scenario cows will select minerals based on palatability, not necessity; so, whichever mineral disappears is the one that had more salt and tasted best.

2.  Cows don’t need minerals all the time.

Granted, there are some minerals that can be stored in the body to supply future demand, but several important minerals are not stored long-term in sufficient amounts. The cow does not have a mineral gauge on her side letting us know when her mineral status is low and needing supplementation. Consider this, minerals are used every day in normal metabolism and several important processes; having a ready supply through regular consumption is important. So how do you know which days the cow does not need minerals? Additionally, transient mineral shortages can have some profound negative effects on offspring through fetal programming.

3. Cows will consume just the right amount of mineral supplement.

Cows can’t read the mineral tag that informs what the expected and/or formulated consumption should be. If left to their own devices, cows will consume loose trace minerals supplements based on satisfying their salt craving/tolerance, liquid supplements based on intake controls, or hand-fed supplements based on accessibility. Relying on bovine self-control is a good way to spend too much on mineral supplements or have inadequate mineral intake.

4. Trace mineralized salt blocks are mineral supplements.

Look at the tag on the product, the primary ingredient is 97 – 99% salt . Therefore, the amount of other minerals contained in the block is too little to matter. The color of the block; red, blue, yellow etc. is created to give the illusion that some mineral is included in a sufficient amount.

5. Mineral form doesn’t matter.

Formulation does matter, because the different forms of minerals have different bioavailability. In general, mineral bioavailability from greatest to least is as follows: organic sources > hydroxyl, > chlorides > sulfates > carbonates > oxides. The specific order of bioavailability often depends on the specific mineral in question. The form of mineral affects mineral solubility, stability, absorption, interactions/antagonisms, and oxidation/reduction potential.

6. Grass provides all the minerals the cow needs.

Forages are often deficient in multiple mineral concentrations required by cattle. Various forages types will have different mineral concentrations. Forage mineral concentrations do vary throughout the forage growing season. Soil fertility and fertilization programs can affect forage mineral concentrations. Regardless, forages in Florida are nearly always deficient in sodium, copper, zinc, selenium, cobalt, iodine, and phosphorus at certain times and locations.

7. You must have white salt in addition to the mineral.

If the mineral supplement contains salt, the addition of more white salt only serves to dilute the formulated mineral supplement, and will reduce the intake of these key minerals. In either case the salt displaces mineral consumption, which can lead to inadequate intake of key trace minerals. Many producers claim that if the cows consume the salt and not the mineral it is justification that the cow has adequate mineral status. Refer to myth #1, cows will consume salt to satisfy their salt craving, and will consume either source of salt, block or loose mineral supplement, to obtain salt. Salt mixed into loose trace mineral supplements is used to both encourage and limit mineral consumption, but additional salt is not warranted.


8. The higher the inclusion the better.

Putting more of a mineral in a supplement just to increase the concentration in the supplement does not always equate to a superior product. Greater inclusion rates without appropriate balancing of other minerals can lead to interactions and antagonisms that undermine the effectiveness of the mineral supplement. Also important is the form of the minerals included, see myth #5. A lot of a low-bioavailability mineral is just more product that will get excreted, not more mineral into the cow.

9. Mineral supplementation fixes everything.

Undoubtedly mineral supplements are crucial to optimal cow performance. However, even the best formulation, consistently offered, and adequately consumed mineral supplement can’t fix everything. If the cows are deficient in dry matter, energy, or protein intake, are in poor health, or have inferior genetics, the productive output of these cows will be substandard.

10. There is a perfect mineral supplement out there.

Often producers are looking for their next mineral supplement, because they believe something better or cheaper is available. There are some well-formulated mineral supplements manufactured by any number of companies. However, just because a supplement is new, different, or the neighbor uses it does not mean that it will be the best option for your operation. Differences in forage base, supplemental feeds, cow breed, and stage of production all influence the appropriateness of the mineral supplement.