Salt has had an elevated place throughout history. The phrase ‘worth his salt’ can be traced to ancient Rome where soldiers were sometimes paid in salt. However precious salt is, it’s not enough when it comes to your cattle.
Nearly every cattle producer puts out salt, and some use a colored salt block. When you ask why, nine times out of ten the answer is ‘that’s what dad/grandpa did.’ Salt is very important to livestock and humans alike. It’s the only mineral that we and livestock crave; it’s an intake driver and limiter. However, only providing salt means cattle are missing out on several key nutrients for optimum performance.
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of macro and trace minerals on this blog. Clicking here will take you to all the blogs concerning minerals; clicking here will take you to all the blogs concerning health and/or immunity. Take some time to review them to brush up on the importance of magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, selenium and vitamins. One topic that we haven’t covered as much is the difference in animal performance when you replace your plain salt with a complete mineral supplement.
In 2012, the Noble Foundation conducted a study to compare performance between stocker calves on ryegrass supplemented with plain salt and a second group supplemented with a complete mineral supplement (including salt and vitamins). The calves on the complete mineral outperformed the calves on the plain salt; average daily gains were 0.19 lbs. higher and total gain was 16 lbs. higher.
Why such a marked difference in performance? Better supplementation. Providing both macro and trace minerals improves rumen efficiency, as well as providing essential components for enzymes and metabolic pathways in the animal. What this ultimately translates to is improved immune function, improved reproductive performance (cows and bulls) and improved rumen function (all noted in previous blogs referenced above).
CRYSTALYX® offers a number of supplements with a complete mineral and vitamin profile. Additionally, we have a product to fit nearly every production scenario, ensuring that your livestock get the proper mineral and vitamin supplementation they need to thrive. Need help selecting the correct barrel? Stop by your local CRYSTALYX® dealer for suggestions, visit our website www.crystalyx.com, or call us at 800-727-2502.