Investment in forage analysis

We were inspired by a recent article penned by Jim Sprinkle, Extension Beef Specialist at the University of Idaho. Jim detailed how to save dollars on mineral programs by determining the mineral status of ranch forages (January 2018; Progressive Cattleman). He suggested sampling and analyzing forage twice a year: at the peak standing crop and during forage dormancy. Investment in forage analysis could generate enough information to design a custom mineral supplement that would meet the needs of the herd for many years.

Our Cattlemen’s Mineral Forage package supplies the following:
  • Moisture
  • Sulfur
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Molybdenum
  • Cobalt

Use a standardized plot frame for collecting forage (40 by 40 centimeters). Clip all the palatable grasses and forages down to ground level. At least 100 grams will be needed. Ship in a large zipper plastic bag, or better yet, contact Midwest Labs, and we’ll ship a plant sample bag to your location. Use mineral tables from Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, National Research Council, 1996, 2000, Washington DC; National Academy of Sciences to determine mineral requirements and maximum tolerable concentrations of minerals for your herd.

By Dr. Jane Caldwell

For more information contact Craig Ebel: 402-590-2962 | email: cebel@midwestlabs.com

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