Achieving an optimal mineral balance for your stock is often overlooked, but when a few key areas are managed, a healthy balance can be achieved to ensure optimal performance, which may even save money.

According to Adam Clay, head of technical at NWF Agriculture, farmers must first assess the key requirements of individual animals. In many cases, cattle will still require a balanced mineral even if they are already being fed a mineralised compound feed.

While maximum compound feed rates must be noted to ensure specific minerals are not over fed, producers should also consider the pasture quality and the time of year to determine whether extra magnesium is required to avoid staggers.

Mr Clay added that producers should also know their current forage situation. Whilst not always the case, cereal silages tend to be consistently low in minerals with little variation. Grass silage however, can be very variable therefore analysing for minerals will give a clear base level for a balanced supplement and help to ensure certain minerals are not over fed, he said.

Furthermore, he added that some mineral supplements only contain a few specific trace elements, and this approach can leave farmers over supplementing some minerals and under supplementing others. A balanced mineral will contain all required trace and major minerals to ensure no one element is over or under fed.