Trace Minerals: What to supplement and when
Jason K. Ahola, Ph.D.
U.S. cow/calf producers have been faced with an extreme increase in operating costs over the past year, especially for feed and supplements. Thus, even with strong calf prices, profitability can be hard to achieve.
One key method for improving profit is to reduce costs without negatively affecting performance – namely through reproduction. To do so, aim for better management of the high-cost trace mineral supplement you are feeding your cows. Let’s take a closer look.
Which trace minerals are most important?
Trace minerals are required at concentrations less than 100 parts per million (ppm, also known as mg per kg) of diet. The National Research Council (NRC) has identified 10 trace minerals as essential for beef cattle; however, only about 4 are generally recognized as the most problematic in grazing beef cattle: copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), and selenium (Se).