The term “trace minerals” has been applied to the mineral elements required by animals in very minuet amounts-usually
measured in Parts Per Million. (PPM) In general these minerals influence body functions. The rate of gain can be reduced
without visible symptoms of mineral deficiency. Lack of necessary amounts in the total ration can effect an animals health in
many ways, even to the extent of being fatal.
Although trace mineral elements are found to some extent in most feeds, the feeder cannot afford to count on their presence
in sufficient amounts. The mineral feed is the logical place to incorporate the trace mineral elements required, since they are
closely inter-related with major minerals – Calcium and phosphorus.
Following is a brief introduction of the functions of the most important trace minerals included in a typical mineral feed:
Cobalt- Associated with carbohydrate metabolism. Directly affects the kinds, numbers, and functions of rumen bacteria. Also
required for manufacture of Vitamin B-12 in the rumen.
Copper- Required for growth, reproduction and blood formulation. Required for mineral metabolism. Improves feed utilization.
Iron- Required for formulation of hemoglobin in muscles and hemoglobin in blood. Sufficient iron, along with copper and
other necessary mineral elements will prevent nutritional anemia in farm animals.
Iodine-Used by the thyroid gland for the production of thyroxine, and prevention of goiter or “Big Neck”. Intimately involved
in the functioning of circulatory, muscular, nervous and reproductive organs.
Manganese – Essential to reproduction, milk production and egg hatch ability; is also vital to bone growth and is needed in
the normal development of muscles and internal organs. Needed for the activation of enzymes and co-enzymes associated
with feed utilization.
Zinc- Essential for growth and the development of skin and hair. Influences rate of absorption of carbohydrates and proteins
from gastrointestinal tract.
Most mineral feeds contain a dust inhibitor, to eliminate wind loss, and improve general handling characteristics and
palatability. The best materials for this purpose are accepted feed ingredients, such as cane molasses, animal fat or mineral
Many mineral supplements now incorporate varying amounts of vitamins in their formulas, particularly Vitamin A, D, and E.
Recent research has greatly improved the stability of vitamins making it possible to obtain excellent results through the
addition of commercially prepared vitamins to mineral supplements.
Some mineral supplements now incorporate antibiotics, growth promotants and oral larvicides for better performance as well
as for disease and pest control of livestock.
Flavorings are used to enhance and stabilize consumption.
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