Research has shown that minerals, trace elements and vitamins are essential nutrients for the health and performance of ruminant livestock.
Whilst grazing, home grown forages and feeds can be a good source of minerals, vitamins and trace elements, they cannot meet all of the animal’s requirements, all of the time. Therefore, the provision of accurate mineral supplementation has become even more important for optimal livestock performance and to maximise the animal’s potential.
Feeding minerals helps correct deficiencies in grazing, forages and straights to maximise health, fertility and performance.
Minerals are the basic components of all matter, being a component part of enzymes, hormones, all cells, bone, blood and body fluids. They function in all aspects of life, from hormone and energy production, digestion, muscle contraction, regulation of body fluid and pH levels, to digestion and reproduction.
Minerals are also critical to provide all of the production parameters such as milk, fleece and muscle tissue, as well as normal growth, reproduction, and feed conversion efficiencies required in our production animals.
Minerals and trace elements have three broad types of functions;
1. Structural components of body organs and tissues.
2. Constituents of body fluids and tissues as electrolytes concerned with body fluid balance, acid-base balance, membrane permeability and tissue irritability (including nerve transmission and muscle contraction).
3. Catalysts in enzyme and hormone systems. Balancing diets for minerals, trace elements and vitamins is therefore as important as ensuring major nutrients such as protein and energy are meeting animal requirements.
Although there are more than 100 mineral elements on earth, only 15 of these are essential for cattle and sheep health and productivity.
These minerals are split into either macro, or major minerals and micro or trace elements.
The macro minerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and chloride, they are required in relatively large amounts because they are so heavily involved with structure of the body and are therefore often measured in grams or percent. The micro minerals or trace elements are required in almost minute levels (milligrams), but are still essential for maintenance and production. They include cobalt, copper, selenium, iodine, zinc, chromium, iron, manganese and molybdenum.
Mineral levels of feeds and forages can vary considerably depending on the type of feed and growing location, harvesting technique and storage practices. For example, grasses tend to have low to moderate levels of calcium and phosphorus, whilst legumes are usually high in calcium, cereal grains are low but high in phosphorus. Home grown forages and feeds will make up the majority of diets on farm and given the massive variation that may occur farmers are encouraged to get them analysed for mineral levels.
Navigate the mineral maze with the FREE MINERAL AUDIT SERVICE*
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The Downland Mineral Audit Service:
The mineral audit service is highly recommended to optimise mineral usage on farm, reducing costs and environmental wastage whilst maximising performance.
Downland have a comprehensive range of OPTI-BALANCE minerals, or bespoke minerals can be formulated to match precisely the needs of the individual farm livestock and management system identified in the audit.
The OPTI-BALANCE Mineral Range has been designed to ensure they support optimal health, production and fertility by balancing the known deficiencies in grazing and forage. The range is formulated specifically to suit the requirements of modern high performance units. Only the highest quality raw materials have been selected for incorporation into the range. Each individual product has been specifically formulated to supply the requirements of the livestock for which it was designed.
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