BY GILDA V. BRYANT
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JULIE TUCKER
FOR GARDINER ANGUS RANCH
Established in 1885, near Ashland, Kansas, fi fthgeneration
family members operate the Gardiner Angus
Ranch. Mark Gardiner (pictured here) believes beef
production requires mineral supplementation, quality
forage and hay, and a top-notch herd health program.
Does it make a difference
when it comes to feeding
cattle mineral supplement?
hether raising heavy
mature cattle, thin
stockers or both,
for these animals
are critical. Providing appropriate
minerals and protein at crucial
times ensures either class of cattle will
be healthy, productive, and effi cient.
Learn about recommended management
strategies from the experts.
Randall Spare, DVM, President of
Ashland Veterinary Center, Ashland,
Kansas, says heavy, mature cattle
should match available resources,
especially during the cows’ pregnancy.
He recommends providing an
all-purpose mineral supplement for
both mature cattle with a body condition
score (BCS) of six or seven, and
thin stocker cattle. Ranchers should
adjust mineral packages when there
are excessive amounts of antagonists
such as sulfur or molybdenum, or defi -
ciencies of micronutrients, including
copper, selenium, or zinc.
“Unless we have a known defi ciency
or excess of any micronutrient, we
need to fi nd out if there’s a change of
mineral levels in the water,” Dr. Spare
explains. “Then, we can adjust our
mineral program accordingly. Water
is a major contributor of nutrients for
livestock. It’s also important to know
what’s in the grass or forages we’re
going to utilize.”
Dr. Spare additionally recommends
ranchers supplement ionophores,
an antimicrobial that improves feed
digestibility and effi ciency in stocker
cattle growth phases. Several ionophores
are approved for stocker cattle.
This is also another incentive to keep
minerals available consistently. By the
end of July, both thin and heavier cattle
often require protein supplements
as forages become dormant and animals
decrease dry matter consumption.
“It depends on the values of protein
36 I WORKING RANCH I JUNE / JULY 2019