Improving Trace Mineral Status and Supplementation in Beef Cattle
Proper trace mineral supplementation strategies can benefit the beef industry via enhanced reproduction, calf growth, feedlot performance, and beef carcass characteristics. However, many trace mineral supplementation strategies are inadequate, due in part to: 1) poorly defined requirements, 2) extreme variability in forages (quality and species), which are poorly documented, 3) variable and poorly described trace mineral concentrations in commercially-available supplements, and 4) a lack of understanding of the specific effects of trace minerals on reproductive, growth, and immune function. The project will help to better define animal requirements, evaluate the effect(s) of supplementation on body mineral status, and assist cattle producers with the proper development of trace mineral supplementation strategies. Proper trace mineral
supplementation strategies will help to avoid: 1) inadequate supplementation practices that do not overcome sub-optimal performance and economic losses, and(or) 2) excessive supplementation that may lead to elevated costs and unnecessary dispersal of trace minerals into the environment.