Just like humans need salt to function normally, cows need salt, too.
Some vitamins and minerals are in what they already eat, but not everything. Most cattle producers add what’s called trace mineral salt to their feed. It can be mixed in with other feeds or can be given alone free choice. If we can mix it with their feed, we do. If they’re on pasture, we give it to them free choice. That means we get it in a bag and pour it into a salt feeder. It can also be given in salt blocks. (Yes, it’s a big block of salt and they lick them down to nothing.)
We’re going to try a different salt mix for the dry cows this year that has more vitamins in it that are beneficial for pregnant cows to keep them healthy through calving. It’s like a prenatal vitamin for cows.
You can buy all types – from generic mixes at the local store to custom mixes created by a nutritionist. As with anything, we’re just trying to give them the healthiest mix to meet their nutritional needs.
And taste . . . I didn’t even mention taste. I don’t know about you, but every vegetable I’ve ever eaten has been improved by salting it. When your diet includes a lot of pasture, probably the cows would agree.