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, says Adam Clay, Head of Technical at NWF.

Firstly, assess key mineral requirements. If the compound feed is mineralized, in many cases cattle will still require a balanced mineral to be fed in the trough mix. Maximum compound feed rates must be noted to ensure specific minerals are not over fed. Consider the pasture quality and the time of year to determine whether extra magnesium is required to avoid staggers.

Secondly, know your current 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, analysing silage for minerals will give a clear base level for a balanced supplement and help to ensure certain minerals are not over fed.

Thirdly, do not leave anything out. Some mineral supplements only contain a few specific trace elements, 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.

For more information on balancing your mineral intakes, speak to your NWF Sales Specialist, or call 0800 756 2787.

NWF Agriculture is a national supplier of high quality dairy, beef and sheep feeds & additional products to UK farmers. It started life in 1971 as a farmer-owned trading company and now forms part of the AIM market quoted NWF Group plc.