Farm Store | articles | Livestock Minerals Series: Supplementation Boosts Herd Health, Reduces Nutrient Deficiency, and Increases Farm Operation Profits

Livestock Minerals Series

Supplementation Boosts Herd Health Reduces Nutrient Deficiency And Increases Farm Operation Profits

For cattle and dairy farmers who have a lot riding on their operations, ensuring that livestock have the nutrients they need is a crucial factor in maintaining herd health and farm profitability. Many farmers rely on mineral supplementation, which offers a number of benefits such as increased weight gain. Supplementation also helps herds avoid health problems due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

In a study, researchers at Texas A&M University have confirmed that giving livestock mineral supplements to enhance cattle diet is a wise investment. The study showed that as mineral supplement rates increased, sickness and disease rates decreased. Of the ranches in the study that showed no disease in their herds, 90 percent had used a complete mineral program as part of their management program.

Still, choosing the best supplement isn't always easy. Every livestock operation is unique, and your marketing objectives, forage situation and other key factors create specific feeding requirements.

Benefits Of Supplementation

Cattle on the farm during feeding time

Livestock minerals help farmers produce bigger, healthier animals. Adding the proper mineral supplement program can help livestock take full advantage of the other nutrients in their feed and forage and gain weight faster.

For brood cows, supplementation raises conception rates and helps meet a cow's nutrition needs during calving and milk production. For calves, supplementation helps increase weaning rates and builds strength and immunity for greater survival.

For all cattle, supplements can include compounds that aid in fly control, and they improve immune system response. Adding minerals to diets also helps livestock build magnesium levels to prevent tetany - and that's only one of a number of health problems that can be traced back to a nutrient deficiency.

Dangers Of Deficiencies

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies in livestock can cause a variety of growth, developmental and health issues. Listed here are some of the most common symptoms associated with deficiencies of certain nutrients.

  • Calcium: poor bone development, weight gain and milk production; rickets; delayed uterine involution; small corpus luteum; cystic ovaries; and retained placenta
  • Cobalt: diarrhea; poor growth; rough and discolored hair coat; anemia; staggering gait; bone deformities and fractures; anestrus; depressed fertility; and depressed libido in bulls
  • Copper: poor appetite, listlessness, rough hair coat, reduced conception, anemia, infertility, delayed onset of puberty, nonfunctional ovaries and the birth of weak calves
  • Iodine: enlarged thyroid, listlessness, impaired fertility, growth retardation, impaired ovarian activity, anestrus, infertility, retained placenta and the birth of weak or hairless calves
  • Iron: anemia, listlessness, reduced milk production and anorexia
  • Manganese: delayed estrus, poor conception rate, deformed newborns, anestrus, infertility, abortion, calves born with contracted tendons, small ovaries, dystocia, and weak joints and legs
  • Magnesium: tetany, nervousness, poor bone development, reduced butterfat, hair loss and a reduced appetite for fiber
  • Phosphorus: poor appetite, growth and bone development; rickets; decreased breeding efficiency; testicular degeneration; anestrus; delayed onset of puberty; and depressed fertility
  • Potassium: reduced feed intake and milk production; muscle weakness; loss of hair bloom; and the eating of wood fences
  • Selenium: white muscle disease, retained placenta, infertility, susceptibility to infection, abortion and the birth of dead or weak calves
  • Sulfur: depraved appetite, emaciation, weakness and reduced cellulose digestion
  • Vitamin A: poor vision, coordination and reproduction
  • Vitamin D: poor utilization of calcium and phosphorous
  • Vitamin E: reproductive failure, muscle weakness and an oxidized flavor in milk
  • Zinc: rough hair coat, stiff joints, swollen feet, hair loss, delayed wound healing and itching

Feed Determines Formulation

Based on an evaluation of your forage or feed, we can recommend the right mineral formulations to complement what your animals are eating and to provide proper amounts of minerals to meet their nutritional requirements.

Southern States has a proven livestock minerals solution for your particular feeding situation. Take a look at the minerals we offer, and then talk to your Southern States dealer, field sales associate or technical representative to learn more about the best program and livestock supplies for your area and operation.

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