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Conference Name Cattle Mineral Nutrition Program for Producers

Adele Harty


Cattle mineral nutrition is complex and mineral status of feedstuffs can vary widely based on multiple factors including soil type, management, grazing systems, forage type and water. Cattle producers in South Dakota and North Dakota are faced with specific production challenges regarding minerals and mineral interactions, including deficient to toxic levels of selenium, high sulfur in water and by-products and high iron levels. Beginning in 2017, a mineral nutrition program for livestock producers was held in western South Dakota with representation from 20 operations. In 2018, it was held in central South Dakota and western North Dakota, with producers from 10 operations and 7 industry professionals attending. This program utilizes local and distance education to provide tools and information for sample collection for laboratory analysis. Program leaders then work with participants individually to interpret results and determine mineral deficiencies, toxicities and interactions. By analyzing specific ranch data, producers are able to make informed decisions in purchasing minerals that better match livestock needs and result in improved cattle health and performance. A total of 66 forage, 22 water and 2 mineral package samples have been analyzed over the two year period. Producers from 7 operations made significant changes to their mineral program based on results and observed improvements in herd health and/or reproduction. Plans are in place to continue to grow and expand the program on a regional level to provide producers with tools to make better management decisions regarding mineral nutrition and the impact on cattle health, reproduction and performance.

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