Incorporating Minerals in Your Cattle’s Nutrition

Minerals Are Too Important. Skimp somewhere else. Minerals are as vital to cattle as grass, water or air. They play a part in essentially every aspect of growth and performance, such as reproduction, bone structure, muscle development, milk production, digestion, and metabolism.

Mineral deficiencies can really add up and hurt in the long run, so don’t take those chances with your cattle. Have you experienced any of the following situations in your herd? 


  • Low calf weaning weights?
  • Reduced calf crop?
  • Small or weak calves?
  • Cows that milk poorly?
  • Lame or stiff cattle?
  • Cows come in heat later?
  • Death due to grass tetany?

Problems like these can be directly related to the amount and quality of mineral being fed to your cattle.

The following chart helps to clearly show what can happen if cattle get inadequate amounts, or unbalanced amounts, of certain key minerals.



Lower Conception Rate


Decreasing Calving Rates


Reduced Milk Production


Lameness or Stiffness


Slow Weight Gains


Reduced Weaning Weights


Smaller or Weaker Calves


Poor Overall Herd Health


Grass Tetany


Retained Placenta


Milk Fever


Change in Hair Coat


More Days to First Heat


Key: P=Phosphorus, Ca=Calcium, NaCl=Sodium Chloride, Mg=Magnesium, K=Potassium, S=Sulfur, Fe=Iron, Cu= Copper,Co=Cobalt,I=Iodine, Zn=Zinc, Mn=Manganese, Se=Selenium


Get the Minerals with Special Abilities

As with anything you feed, the success of your minerals product will depend on the balance of ingredients and the quality of the formulation. And, of course, if cattle eat it. Purina Minerals have what it takes to help cattle perform better, thanks to our many exceptional abilities:

  • Bioavailability: High biological availability of nutrients means the minerals are readily absorbed and utilized by cattle. Purina minerals are formulated with sulfates instead of oxides because the sulfate form of trace minerals is more available. Our high-quality sulfate trace minerals assure excellent bioavailability to make up for the trace mineral deficiencies of your forage.

  • Predictability: By knowing what cattle nutrient requirements are, Purina develops products that accurately meet the mineral deficiencies of different forages. That assures cattle of consistently eating the right amounts of minerals and getting the right balance of nutrients in every mouthful, every day. We’re so sure Purina Mills minerals will deliver the proper rates of nutrition, they’re guaranteed.

  • Palatability: Part of our confidence in the effectiveness of Purina mineral products comes from knowing cattle will eat them. By using only top-quality ingredients and having higher palatability in our products, the cattle consume the minerals free choice as often as needed.

  • Reliability: Since 1926, Purina Mills has had a commitment to research. At our 1188-acre research facility near Gray Summit, Missouri, as well as with contract facilities, universities, and producers throughout the country, Purina has conducted thousands of research trials concerning animal nutrient requirements, ingredient quality, nutrient availability, and management systems to develop programs that optimize animal performance. In short, you can rely on Purina to provide the research-proven programs and products to meet the needs of your beef cattle operation.

Using the proper Purina Mills’ mineral product can yield big results in the performance in your cattle.


Figure 1 shows the effects of inadequate phosphorus supplementation as it relates to a weaned calf crop. The herd without added phosphorus had dramatically lower reproductive performance: only 58 percent weaned calves compared to 85 percent in the herd that had phosphorus supplementation—roughly a third fewer calves to market.

Figure 2 shows that higher gains in 500-pound calves require greater amounts of phosphorus. Obviously, phosphorus is a key factor in cattle performance.

Tell Us Where Your Cattle Are, We’ll Tell You What They Need.

Feeding cattle minerals is a simple step; however, it’s also a complex one because there are so many different metabolic interactions to consider. To get the best results, you should always know which minerals to feed and when, but how can you tell?

As America’s leader in cattle nutrition, Purina Mills has developed many excellent beef mineral products which are specifically formulated for the mineral deficiencies commonly found in the soils and pastures of this area.

By knowing exactly what the pastures are like in your area, we can recommend a product that most directly balances the mineral content of whatever the forage type and quality your cattle are eating right now.

There are six main "families" of mineral supplements to address every cattle mineral need:

Purina Mills Cattle Mineral 12:12

One of our best mineral products, 12:12 is a premium balanced blend with 12% calcium and 12% phosphorus. Its high phosphorus level meets vital needs of range cattle on almost all pasture conditions. Highly palatable and made for year-round feeding, Cattle Mineral 12:12 is formulated for higher consumption when forage is of poorer quality and lower when forage is of better quality. Because phosphorus is the first limiting macro mineral, excluding salt, the 1:1 Ca:P ratio of 12:12 mineral products makes them the cattleman’s minerals of choice.

Purina Mills Range Mineral

Our balanced Range Mineral products contain various ratios of calcium and phosphorus and generally provide enough salt to meet cattle requirements. All have top-quality ingredients with high biological availability and excellent palatability. The higher level of salt is ideal for free-choice feeding and eliminates the need to add salt separately. Consumption of Purina Mills Range Minerals will be higher than 12:12 and still meet cattle needs on pasture all year-round.

Purina Mills High-Magnesium

This beneficial family of products has the same important features of quality and nutrient balance as our other minerals, plus the added value of higher levels of magnesium. High-Mag minerals provide the essential supplementation of magnesium needed for cattle grazing lush green pastures where magnesium deficiency is a concern. As with all other families of Purina Mills beef mineral products, High-Magnesium is also available with added selenium for cattle on selenium-deficient soils.

Purina Mills Fescue Mineral

Our Fescue Minerals are formulated specifically for the unique needs of cattle grazing fescue pastures or consuming fescue hay. Vitamin A is fortified at higher levels, and two different levels of magnesium are offered to address seasonal changes in fescue quality. In addition, our most popular Fescue Mineral option contains chlortetracycline.

Purina Mills Livestock Mineral

One of our most economical products is Purina Mills Livestock Mineral. This high quality, multipurpose nutritional supplement meets the basic balanced mineral requirements of cattle on grass, in a variety of forage conditions. That gives you an extra margin of safety against trace mineral deficiencies, and still provides adequate phosphorus when consumed at desired intake levels. Added salt increases the convenience of free-choice feeding.

Purina Mills Special-Use Family

Among the many minerals offered by Purina Mills, several are called "Special Use" products because of their unique formulations for certain situations. Those may include minerals that contain feed additives such as Rumensin®, Bovatec®, Gainpro®, or chlortetracycline. The mineral itself is still a high-quality, balanced product, but with the special added ingredients needed to meet a particular requirement.