Cattle mineral nutrition for producers program open |

Cattle mineral nutrition for producers program open

North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University Extension are collaborating to bring a cattle mineral nutrition program to producers in both states. Photo courtesy NDSU Extension

“Participants will increase their knowledge of mineral nutrition and gather information on their own operations to improve overall health and performance of their cattle,” said Janna Block, NDSU Extension livestock specialist based at the Hettinger Research Extension Center. “The program consists of a one-day training in May, followed by sample collection and ranch visits during the summer, and a final one-day training in October.”

The program was initiated in South Dakota in 2017 and expanded to North Dakota in 2018. Adele Harty, SDSU Extension livestock field specialist, said participants who have taken full advantage of the program made changes to their mineral programs based on information gathered. One operation near Blunt, S.D., discovered they had a severe copper deficiency that was compounded by excess iron and molybdenum levels. With information they learned in the class and the samples collected, they found a mineral to overcome these challenges and observed a noticeable improvement in the health of their cattle.

During the first session, participants will:

receive an overview of options for mineral delivery

learn the basics of mineral nutrition

determine how animal grazing behavior can affect mineral intake

receive training on proper forage, feed and water sampling techniques

learn about tools to monitor mineral consumption.

“The May sessions provide baseline knowledge for producers to begin evaluating their current mineral programs to determine whether they are meeting their herds’ nutritional needs or if modifications are necessary,” Block said.

Tools will be provided to monitor mineral consumption throughout the summer to determine whether cattle are consuming mineral at the appropriate level. Presenters will provide tips and tricks to help with consumption challenges. In addition, participants learn hands-on sample collection to collect samples on their own operations for mineral analysis throughout the summer. During the summer, SDSU and NDSU Extension personnel will conduct ranch visits to focus on specific needs of each producer.

At the final session in the fall, applied components of mineral nutrition will be presented, Block said. These include:

interpreting and utilizing forage analysis

reading a mineral tag

understanding mineral sources (i.e., inorganic, organic and hydroxy)

determining how the mineral can meet the cow’s requirements.

Additionally, professionals in the field and producers who have established mineral programs will share how they developed their programs, what it has done for them, and why it is important from an animal health and financial perspective.

Class size is limited to 30 operations for this intense program with 15 from each state. The first sessions are:

Tuesday, May 14, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT at the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Lab, Bridge Conference Center, 1701 10th Ave. SW, Mandan, N.D.

Tuesday, May 21, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. MDT at Fall River County Extension Office in Hot Springs, S.D.

Harty and Block encourage two people per operation to participate. Registration is $150 per operation, and this investment provides materials, one forage mineral analysis, a ranch visit and lunches.

To register, go to or contact Block at 701-567-4323 or Provide your name, mailing address, email, phone number and any dietary needs. Registration will be open until May 10.

Sponsors for this program are:

Gold sponsor: Micronutrients, a Nutreco Company

Silver sponsor: Ward Laboratories, Inc.

–NDSU Extension