Here are two great videos from our friends at the Beef Cattle Research Council. While they focus on cattle, some of the principles Dr. McKinnon describes can help sheep and goat producers think about and adjust their own mineral programs.
If animals’ mineral needs are not met, the results are costly, and can include decreased performance, disease resistance and reproduction. Mineral requirements for cattle depend on their weight, age, and expected performance (maintenance vs. weight gain vs. pregnancy) and mineral supplementation needs also depend on the feed, water and soil chemistry around the herd.
These two videos from the Beef Research School feature Dr. John McKinnon, Beef Industry Research Chair and professor and researcher of cattle nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan. In the first (7:55), Dr. McKinnon explains the symptoms of mineral deficiency, how to choose a mineral feeding program that suits your herd, the economic advantage of investing in supplements, and tips for preventing over or under-consumption. His tips on picking mineral based on soil, water and forage tests can help reduce costs by ensuring you provide just what animals need.
In this second 9:12 video, Dr. McKinnon discusses how to respond to breeding cows’ changing mineral needs during the year, as well as mineral-to-mineral interactions to be cautious of.
This week’s Classic by NatGLC expands on this topic to cover whether or not animals can figure out what minerals they need.