Why should I be interested in supplementing trace minerals to my cow herd?
Minerals play a vital role in forage digestion, reproductive performance, the immune system, and the development of bones, muscle, and teeth. An inadequate intake of minerals and vitamins may result in 1) reduced forage intake; 2) lower reproductive efficiency; 3) poor disease immunity; 4) slower daily gains, and 5) poorer feed conversion. Sub clinical trace mineral deficiencies probably occur more frequently than recognized by most livestock producers. This may be a larger problem than an acute mineral deficiency, because the rancher does not see specific symptoms that are characteristic of a trace mineral deficiency. With a sub clinical deficiency, the animal grows or reproduces at a reduced rate, uses feed less efficiently and operates with a depressed immune system. View the full PDF
Diagnostic Steps to Follow if I Suspect a Trace Mineral Deficiency in My Cowherd
The interactions between trace minerals, animal production, and disease resistance are extremely complex. Many factors affect an animal’s response to trace mineral supplementation such as the duration and concentration of trace mineral supplementation, physiological status of an animal (pregnant vs. open), the absence or presence of dietary antagonists, environmental factors, and the influence of stress on trace mineral metabolism. Breed differences in trace mineral metabolism have also been documented. Recent experimental results indicate that providing supplemental trace minerals can positively influence reproductive efficiency by improving uterine involution and reducing the days to breeding. View the full PDF
Supplementation of Heifers: Protein vs. Energy?
For the productivity of replacement heifers grazing native pastures, which one is better, protein or energy? This past summer with the above average rainfall in many parts of the United States, forages samples may be low in both protein and total digestible nutrients (TDN). Workers from Oregon State University showed that protein content of range forage was higher during years when rainfall was below normal compared to years when rainfall was above normal. This observation should encourage producers to pay careful attention to meeting the nutrient requirements of cows – and especially replacement heifers – by investing in a forage analysis. View the full PDF
Feeding Grains and Forages Contaminated with Mycotoxins
Producer Challenge: Cool, wet growing seasons may delay grain maturity, and can result in mold and mycotoxin formation in the field. Producers are faced with the decision to feed moldy feeds or forages and knowing there may be a potential risk to animal productivity. Mold is more pronounced when the dry matter content of the grain or roughage is in excess of 14%. This would mean that grain or hay that is rained or snowed on at time of harvest may be susceptible to mold and the production of mycotoxins. View the full PDF
WestFeeds Beef Minerals: Frequently Asked Questions
Why are WestFeeds minerals formulated for 2-3 ounce daily intake? Why are WestFeeds minerals weatherized? Why is salt added to the mineral? This reference answers this question and many more, plus give the features and benefits of our beef minerals and why they can work for your operation. View the full PDF
Macro-Mineral Nutrition of the Cow – John Paterson, PhD
The mineral status of the brood-cow herd affects reproduction, growth, milk production and health. All of these can affect profitability. Cow-calf herds are generally provided minerals “free-choice.” Cows may or may not “choose” to consume adequate amounts of mineral. This is why mineral consumption must be monitored, especially when a new mineral is introduced, or during critical periods (such as when magnesium levels are increased in an attempt to prevent grass tetany). The macrominerals of most concern for cattle include phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and potassium. View the full PDF
Fall is a great time to improve cow reproductive performance and lower feeding costs – R. W. Whitman, PhD
Herd reproductive performance depends largely on cow body condition at calving. Chances of a cow cycling and becoming pregnant during the breeding season increases significantly as body condition at calving improves from thin to moderate to good. Fall is the best time to improve cow body condition. Relatively low nutrient requirements for cows, mild weather, and the availability of inexpensive feeds make this an excellent time to shape up cows for winter. Cows that enter winter in good condition maintain condition on less feed and have a better chance of calving in good condition and cycling early in the subsequent breeding season. View the full PDF