The Cheapest Mineral Isn’t

Francis L. Fluharty, Ph.D., Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

The major nutritional requirements are: water, energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins. In many cases, beef producers do a good job of providing adequate water, energy, and protein. However, many beef producers buy ‘cheap’ minerals, ignoring the fact that the availability of the minerals in the oxide form in many of these mixes are only 10 to 20% as absorbable by the animal as the sulfate, chloride, or organic or chelated, forms (when minerals are metals bound to an organic compound such as an amino acid such as in zinc methionine or organic selenium in selenomethionine) (Spears, 2003) in more expensive mineral mixes. The advantage of more available forms of minerals are seen when Continue reading

Cattle Rations, Percentage or Pounds?

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County and Buckeye Hills EERA

Generally when we talk about the nutrient requirements of cattle and the ration that they need, it is common to hear those requirements expressed in terms of percentages. For example, this cow requires 12% crude protein (CP), or 55% TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients). Cattle, of course, eat pounds of feedstuffs. We talk about a cow eating 2.5 % of her body weight in dry matter per day. So what is the relationship between percentage and pounds and how does it work in putting together a ration or figuring out if the hay we have is going to meet the nutrient requirements of the cow?

Let’s begin with the Continue reading