Minerals for Beef Cattle

Q. Why feed minerals to beef cattle and sheep?
A. Mineral imbalances can cause major loss of profit to farmers.  Correct vitamin, mineral and trace element balance is essential for the prevention of a wide range of problems including lameness, ill thrift, reduced immunity, poor skin/hair quality and reduced live-weight gain.  Forage Analysis has shown that most Irish soils are deficient in the key trace elements Selenium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.  These trace elements have major roles in animal performance and fertility.


Q. What is the best method of mineral supplementation?
A. Fixed rate feeding (e.g. in the daily concentrate allowance or sprinkled over easy feed silage) of well balanced minerals is the cheapest and best way to guarantee an adequate mineral supply.  Free access supplementation (e.g. mineral buckets and licks) is not as reliable as fixed rate feeding as there is variation in intake between animals.  Fixed-rate feeding may not be possible in certain situations e.g. grazing cattle and free access minerals may then be the only option.


There are a range of options to feed minerals to beef cattle:
1. In concentrate rations
• Dairygold have a range of rations that deliver specialist dry stock minerals. 
Beeflav, Beef Meal Mix Extra etc.  Note Prime Elite Maize Munch, Prime Elite Maize Cube, BBB+Yeast and Beef Crown have lower inclusion levels of minerals for Ad-lib feeding systems.

2. Superchoice 25Kg Bags-Molassed powder minerals (see Table 1 for specifications)
• Suitable for TMR or sprinkle allowance over forage 2-3 times daily.  Note the high specification of Superchoice Cattle General Purpose and Superchoice Cattle General Purpose Gold makes these products suitable for balancing diets including alternative forages e.g. maize silage, wholecrop wheat and beet in the majority of cases.
• Good levels of all vitamins, minerals and trace elements
• Superchoice Cattle General Purpose Gold is suitable for intensive finishing cattle, replacement dairy heifers and cattle being pushed hard.  It has a number of additional features over the standard product:
-Contains Bioplex Zinc at 40% of the total zinc level.  This is the organic forms (the form the animal uses) of this vital trace element involved in animal health and hoof strength.
-The Vitamin E level has been increased four fold over the standard product.  High levels of Vitamin E help reduce the incidence of disease plus help improve the overall animal health status of the animals.
-Contains the manufacturer’s recommended rate of live yeast.  Live yeast has been shown to reduce digestive upsets, improve fibre digestion and lead to increased live-weight gains.

3. Superchoice Buckets-Molassed blocks (see Tables 1&2 for specifications)
• Suitable where impractical to feed powdered minerals correctly
• Good levels of all vitamins, minerals and trace elements
• Highly palatable for optimum intakes
• Weatherproof for minimum waste


Table 1-Superchoice Range of Minerals for Cattle

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