Selecting And Evaluating Freechoice Mineral Supplements

As low-cost insurance to provide adequate mineral nutrition, modified complete mineral supplements should be available free-choice to grazing livestock. A modified complete mineral mixture usually includes salt, a low fluoride phosphorus source, Ca, Co, Cu, Mn, I, and Zn. Except where selenosis is a problem, most free-choice supplements should contain Se. Magnesium, K, S, or additional elements can also be incorporated into a mineral supplement or can be included at a later date as new information suggests a need. Table 2 lists the characteristics of a modified complete mineral supplement.[1,2] To evaluate a free-choice mineral supplement, it is necessary to have an approximation of: 1) requirements of animal class; 2) relative biological availability of the mineral sources; 3) approximate daily intake per head of the mineral mixture and total dry matter that is anticipated for the target animals; and 4) concentration of the essential minerals in the free-choice mixture.

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