Mineral Supplementation in Beef Cattle Management

— Written By and last updated by
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

cow grazing

Beef cattle and other livestock require a number of different minerals, macro and micro, for optimal growth, reproduction, and just maintaining their health in general. A good mineral program specific to each farming operation is key to efficient production on forages. Good quality forages and grains can provide a large selection of the required minerals needed by livestock. However, no matter how high quality a forage is they can still be deficient in one or more minerals. Therefore, producers should select a mineral supplement program that will best meet their animals’ requirements and avoid excesses.

Trace or microminerals such as copper, zinc, selenium, and salt, typically require more attention but some forages may be also be deficient in macro minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. As a producer the starting point to knowing what mineral supplementation program you need is to assess your forage to know the mineral levels of what your cattle are eating. For most tall fescue systems supplementation is generally needed for salt, copper, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Once a producer knows what to include in their program they will need to first, find a good complete mineral or have it custom mixed and then keep up with the daily intake level (make sure your cows are consuming the right amount).

Using a “Hi-Mag” mineral in the spring when grass is just beginning to green-up and cattle begin to spend less time around a feeder is something cattle producers have been told year after year. But do we really know why we spending money to put this mineral out? Using a “Hi-Mag” mineral is to help prevent grass tetany in cattle which is when there is either not enough or no available magnesium available in the diet. Issues are much more common in high quality forages in the spring which may contain higher levels of potassium which can, sometimes, inhibit magnesium uptake. Lactating cattle and growing calves are most susceptible usually.

If cattle are in poor condition even though they are being fed good forage and they have a rough shaggy appearance then the mineral supplementation program may need to be reevaluated. After considering what minerals need to be supplemented and the amount that your livestock needs to consume, also think about a decent mineral feeder. A feeder does not need to be expensive, it just needs to keep the majority of the rain out, and be durable as well as portable. Choose one that is easy to manage for you. Instructional videos and literature on building your own durable and inexpensive mineral feeder are available.

Producers or prospective producers can find out more information pertaining to this article by contacting Kendra Fortner at the Jackson County Cooperative Extension Office at 828-586-4009 or the Swain County Cooperative Extension Office at 828-488-3848 or by email at kendra_norton@ncsu.edu