Unintended Consequences and Chelated Trace Minerals
Research shows improved performance in beef cattle when some of the trace minerals in a supplement are supplied in Chelated form. Here’s why: Chelated trace minerals are protected from antagonists in the rumen.
Questions: What are the “antagonists”? Where do they come from?
Calcium, iron, and sulfur, in excess, are most often the culprits. These come from forages, water, and feedstuffs. Sometimes these excess antagonists are inherent in the animal’s diet. But sometimes antagonists are introduced in mineral supplements and feedstuffs.
Consider calcium and iron, both high in most western forages and so requiring no supplementation. Yet most mineral supplements inadvertently include calcium and iron. How inadvertently? They enter by stealth in the industry-standard calcium phosphates, researched in the 1940s , used since the ‘50s to supplement phosphorus, a mineral very important for herd health and starkly deficient in most western forages.
- Mono-calcium phosphate, 18% calcium and 21% phosphorus, contains up to 14,000 ppm iron.
- Di-calcium phosphate is 24% calcium and 18.5% phosphorus with up to 12,000 ppm iron.
When these calcium phosphates are used to supplement phosphorus, for every 1% phosphorus supplied at least 800 ppm iron tags along ― “Stealth Iron”, Texas Range Minerals terms it. If a rancher feeds a 12% high-phosphorus mineral, he can calculate at least 9600 ppm iron in that supplement, iron not declared on the tag.
If calcium and iron are in excess in an animal’s diet, the well-meaning mineral supplement that uses the calcium phosphates is in reality introducing into the rumen antagonists that interfere with trace mineral availability. Enter Chelated trace minerals. Expensive but effective. When added to the mineral supplement there will be improvement in cattle performance. But what if the calcium and iron antagonists could be barred from the mineral in the first place? The root of the problem, not just symptoms, could be treated. No more “Two steps forward, one step back.”
97% conception rate in a 60-day breeding season; calves born healthy, full of energy and vigor; no retained placentas: these are results typical of feeding a calcium-free and iron-free phosphorus mineral supplement. Phosphorus sourced as mono-sodium phosphate (MSP) is 26% phosphorus, 0% calcium and 0% iron. MSP is 100% water soluble and so 100% available in the rumen, where phosphorus must be delivered in an available form.
What’s in your mineral?
To schedule a free third-party analysis, call Gerry Cates, 325-668-6775.