Livestock such as dairy cattle and beef cattle require a number of minerals for optimal growth and reproduction. Selecting the correct nutritional supplement is important to maintain the health of the animals. Most grain rations for cattle and sheep supply adequate protein to maintain a satisfactory 10% to 12%. However, when livestock is in emergency, feeding proportions may vary. During such situations, cattle must be given a low protein diet such as ground ear corn, grain straws and grass straws.
Vitamins and minerals for dairy cattle can maximize profits or minimize losses. An animal’s diet must contain essential vitamins and minerals in appropriate amounts and ratios.
All livestock should be given macro minerals and micro minerals. The macro minerals they require are calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chlorine and sulphur.
Calcium and phosphorous plays an important role in body functions. A decrease in either or both can cause a decrease in weight gain and overall efficiency. A superior milking cow requires three times more calcium than a non-lactating cow. Proper utilization of calcium and phosphorous is affected not only by the amount of each mineral but also by their ratio. The optimum Ca: P ratio is about 1.5:1. Most grasses are adequate in calcium. Some of the foods which can be given to cattle are alfalfa, peanut, clover and soybean.
The sodium and chlorine provide for proper functioning of the nervous system and muscular system. A deficiency of these elements causes loss of appetite and inefficient weight gains or body weight loss. As a rule of thumb, cattle consume 0.005 to 0.010 percent of their body weight as salt daily.
For proper functioning of enzyme and nervous system, livestock should be given a magnesium rich diet. A mineral mixture containing 10 to 14 percent magnesium consumed at 4 ounces per day should provide adequate magnesium.
Apart from macro minerals, all livestock that is dairy cattle and beef cattle require micro minerals too. The micro minerals they require are iron, manganese, copper, zinc, selenium, cobalt and iodine.
The overall feed given to livestock and cattle, must supply adequate amounts of energy, protein, certain vitamins and minerals. Although different species have different nutritional requirements, there is one principle that applies to the nutritional requirements of all animals; that is, if ample amounts of all nutrients but one are fed, the level of that particular nutrient will limit performance.