Blog > July 2020 > Mineral Balance and Bioavailability

Mineral Balance and Bioavailability

July 27, 2020

Every season I read about the new, big item on the market that's a cure-all for any issues within your herd. Unfortunately, the truth is that the majority of the "added value" ingredients very rarely have any data to prove the so-called cure truly works. The good thing is that we have all been trained to read feed tags. But has the tag reading war caused us to forget about balanced nutrition?

Sorting through mineral options and brands can become a time-consuming task. That is why our feed sales team is here to help make that decision with you. We know every operation is different. We take the time to understand your herd's needs by visiting with you, the producer, and observing the herd to pinpoint any situation that may need to be addressed, such as over or under consumption of mineral, breeding issues, or health issues.

The right mineral program is driven by the feed and water your cattle consume. Forage and water analysis will determine mineral content and help you select the right mineral for your program. Keep in mind that not all mineral sources are created equal. Bioavailability can alter the absorption of trace minerals and reduce the full benefit of a mineral program. Decreased weaning weights, small weak calves, decreased milk production, reduced immunity, and poor conception rates can all result from a non-quality supplemental program. Costs increase with bioavailable mineral sources, but serve an important purpose when it comes to immunity, reproduction, and growth.

 Studies from South Dakota State Extension show inorganics such as sulfates and chlorides are more available than oxides or carbonates, except for zinc oxide and magnesium oxide. Organic minerals are bonded to an amino acid, and bioavailability exceeds 100. These minerals provide an added benefit during times of stress, like weaning. Hydroxy minerals use covalent bonds that allow trace minerals to by-pass rumen digestion, further increasing the bioavailability. A balance of these minerals is very important. If levels are increased in some minerals, they may tie up the balance and reduce the bioavailability of another, thus decreasing the benefit on the mineral program.

When selecting a mineral program for your herd, always work closely with your nutritionist to determine what program is best for your operation. Also, remember that starting with feed and water analysis is critical. Central Valley Ag offers a wide variety of mineral programs and we can design one specifically for your herd. To learn more about our feed offerings, visit, or stop by one of our feed locations.
by Brandi Salestrom
Posted: 7/27/2020 6:11:58 PM by Kristin Petersen | with 0 comments

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