It Costs Too Much

    People occasionally tell me that they like the  concept of the cafeteria style mineral program but it costs too much.  This automatically triggers my mental  rebuttal - “Compared to what?”   

   When I have the chance to actually engage them in a conversation about price their responses range from a forceful - “I, (or someone they know) tried, it but the animals  ate so much of a couple of items that it was more than I could afford”--- to a timorous - “Well, … well … well, it just does cost too much!”  Rarely have I encountered anyone who knew the approximate cost per head per day of any mineral program. 

   It is difficult to arrive at an average cost as there are   many variables that influence both need and consumption of minerals.  In my experience, when properly presented under normal conditions, the cafeteria style self-select mineral program  is no more expensive than conventional feeding practices - and probably a lot more economical in the long run.  Being fixated on cost alone overlooks the more pertinent question; “Is it cost effective?” - a much better gauge of value than price. 

   Animals will eat minerals and vitamins to meet their needs.  If they are eating what appears to be excessive amounts it is almost always the result of poor nutritional management, environmental variations, or both.  For example, high protein rations, feeding urea or other non-protein nitrogen, water or feed that is high in nitrates, all tie-up Vitamin A. Feeding old hay, usually deficient in Vitamin A, contributes to the problem.  The resulting Vitamin A deficiency also causes stress which increases the need for B Vitamins. The end result is that the animals will need and eat larger amounts of Vitamins A and B.     It can become expensive — but not as expensive as ignoring the problem.  Attention to the underlying nitrate problem will lower consumption

   The real issue is not what it costs to use it, but what it costs if you don’t use it.