MegaMin and Livestock FAQ’s

Below are a range of frequently asked questions about the MegaMin Supplement Range and Livestock Nutrition.   If you don't find what you are looking for here please contact our nutrition team on 1800 81 57 57 or email info@agsolutions.com.au

MegaMin USDA/NOP Blend, USDA/NOP Extra Sulphur Blend, USDA/NOP Extra Phosphorus Blend are the only products compliant with the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).

What is MegaMin?

MegaMin is a broad spectrum mineral livestock supplement range and is available in a range of loose mix supplements, lick blocks, feedlot and dairy premixes and equine supplements.

What MegaMin supplement should I use and when?
ISSUE/TIME OF YEAR
MEGAMIN PRODUCT
Low fertility rates

Bone chewing

Milk production

Phosphorus deficiency

Green feed


MegaMin Extra Phosphorus

MegaMin USDA/NOP Extra Phosphorus Blend

 

 

Year round minerals

Health & fertility

Suitable for all livestock


MegaMin Mineral Blend

MegaMin Mineral Block

MegaMin 10% protein meal

 

Grazing lush pastures (Oats, Ryegrass, winter cereals)

High stress periods

Grass Tetany


MegaMin Extra Magnesium

MegaMin Extra Magnesium Sweet Blend

Forage Sorghum

Parasite control (ticks, lice, buffalo fly)


MegaMin Extra Sulphur

MegaMin Extra Sulphur Block

Feedlotting

Grain rations

Bbackgrounding & Weaning


MegaMin Feedlot Enhancer + ration formulation service

Dry Feed

Stacked manure

Winter

MegaMin 50% Protein Meal

MegaMin Dry Feed Block

MegaMin Graze & Grow

What MegaMin supplements are suitable for the United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program?

The MegaMin products that are compliant are: USDA/NOP Blend, USDA/NOP Extra Phosphorus Blend and USDA/NOP Extra Sulphur Blend.

What MegaMin supplements can i use with PCAS?

All of the MegaMin Livestock Supplements are suitable EXCEPT for:

  • MegaMin Graze and Grow with Rumensin,
  • MegaMin Feedlot Enhancer, and
  • MegaMin Dairy Enhancer.
What are the benefits of supplementing year round?

There is an obvious need to supplement livestock to maintain condition or avoid losses during winter and dry conditions.  Not so obvious are the clinical or sub-clinical mineral deficiencies that can restrict animal performance during good seasons or periods of lush pasture growth.  Take phosphorus for an example, livestock will respond best to phosphorus supplementation when their energy and protein requirements are being met.  The best time to supplement with phosphorus is during times when pasture quality and quantity is high.  When pasture quality improves, livestock grow faster or produce more milk.  This increased production is a result of increased ‘energy cycles’ in the animal which subsequently results in an increased requirement for phosphorus.  During times of lush green feed, there is the opportunity to maximise stock performance by supplementing with additional phosphorus.

Are there any withholding periods with MegaMin supplements?

Not for the majority of the MegaMin range.  The following applies for MegaMin Feedlot Enhancer:

Cattle: MEAT – NIL, MILK – NIL

Sheep:  MEAT – DO NOT USE less than 24 hours before slaughter for human consumption.

MILK – DO NOT USE in sheep or goats which are producing or may in the future produce milk where the milk or milk products may be used for human consumption.

Trade Advice – Export Slaughter Interval (ESI)

Cattle: An ESI has not been established.

Sheep:  DO NOT USE less than 7 days before slaughter for export.

What MegaMin Supplements can be used with both cattle and horses in the same paddock?
  • MegaMin Mineral Blend
  • MegaMin 10% Protein Meal
  • MegaMin Extra Phosphorus
  • MegaMin Extra Phos 8
  • MegaMin Extra Sulphur
  • MegaMin Extra Magnesium
  • MegaMin Extra Magnesium Sweet
  • MegaMin 50% Protein Meal
  • MegaMin USDA/NOP Blend
  • MegaMin USDA/NOP Extra Sulphur Blend
  • MegaMin USDA/NOP Extra Phosphorus Blend
  • MegaMin Mineral Block
  • MegaMin Equine Enhancer
What MegaMin supplements should be used in Winter and/or on Dry Feed?

MegaMin Protein Supplements are formulated to feed rumen microbes to improve the rate of digestion and to stimulate the appetite of stock grazing frosted or dry pastures.  The combination of broad spectrum minerals and trace elements, urea and naturally protected protein meal stimulates rumen microbial activity for extended periods, helping stock to make the most of standing dry feed and increase weight gains.  MegaMin Protein Supplements include:

  • MegaMin 50% Protein Meal
  • MegaMin Dry Feed Block
  • MegaMin Graze & Grow
When should I start feeding a Protein Supplement?

It is important to start feeding dry season licks early in the season before livestock have already lost condition and developed cravings.  The onset of dry conditions can creep up.  By monitoring manure, a drop in feed quality can easily be identified, allowing the early introduction of supplements to avoid or minimise loss of stock condition.  When manure starts to ‘stack up’ (look like scones), protein supplementation is required to assist rumen function.

Why are minerals important?

Macro minerals and trace minerals are needed year round by livestock for optimum production, health and fertility. Our broad spectrum minerals are directly linked to metabolism and are essential for the utilisation of energy and protein.

Minerals cannot be synthesised within animals, therefore, providing livestock with adequate minerals can assist to stimulate metabolism and feed efficiency to increase daily weight gain and  body condition scores for stock grazing both native and improved pastures.

Why should I use a professionally balanced supplement?

To benefit from the full nutritional value of any one mineral, an adequate quantity of all other minerals must also be available.  Phosphorus absorption is reduced if calcium, sulphur, manganese or copper is lacking.  Toxicities can also occur if too much of one element is provided.  For example feeding straight sulphur or adding it to a feed ration yourself comes with an element of risk.  Excessive consumption can cause Polioencephalomalacia (PEM).  MegaMin Extra Sulphur has been specifically formulated to provide the additional sulphur needed along with phosphorus, magnesium and broad spectrum trace minerals that are essential for stock health.

What can help reduce Buffalo Fly and other parasites?

Research from South America has now proven that sulphur can increase stock resistance to cattle ticks. In these trials, there was a substantial increase in the level of natural resistance to ticks for cattle fed additional Sulphur. Villar, C 2006

MegaMin Extra Sulphur can help reduce Buffalo Fly and external parasites.

What MegaMin supplement is best for cattle grazing Forage Sorghum?

Prussic acid contained in forage sorghum can actually limit fodder intake, resulting in lower weight gains for cattle grazing forage and other sorghum varieties. While forage sorghum is being digested in the rumen, prussic acid or hydrogen cyanide may be released. This can be fatal however, more commonly it may be sub-clinically present at low levels, which can greatly reduce weight gains.

MegaMin Extra Sulphur can assists in detoxifying prussic acid and reduces the risk of cyanide poisoning. With adequate sulphur intake, stock are able to graze more stalk and stem resulting in better utilisation of the plant and subsequent regrowth. Trials have shown that providing additional sulphur can increase daily weight gains by as much as 300-500 grams per day.

How can I prevent Grass Tetany?

Supplementing stock with MegaMin Extra Magnesium can help prevent Grass Tetany as long as adequate intake is achieved.  Start supplementing 2-3 weeks prior to periods of high risk of Grass Tetany.  Use in conjunction with other grass tetany management strategies.  Magnesium supplements can be quite bitter and for that reason we have a highly palatable (Sweet) blend available for those situations where intake is challenging.

Where should I place the supplements in the paddock?

Supplements should be placed where the stock are going to come into contact with them in the first week to establish paddock acceptance.  After this time supplement should be placed out in the paddock away from water to encourage stock to graze the unused paddock feed.

How do I increase intake of supplements?

The reason that most stock do not take to loose mix supplements is mainly due to the bitter taste of several of the components in the mix.  To help entice stock to consume correct daily intakes of supplement than it is recommended to introduce into the top of the loose mix a palatable protein meal or grain.  The protein meal or grain needs to be incorporated into the top 15 cm of mix so that stock can acquire a taste for the supplement.  Ideal protein meals are: Copra Meal and Cotton Seed Meal.

Why aren't my cattle consuming lick block supplements?

The reason 99% of the time that most stock do not take to lick block supplements is due to the relationship with salt. Most lick blocks will have varying levels of salt in them. Stock that are either drinking from underground water (contains more dissolved salts) or grazing country with elevated Sodium levels, will find salt very unpalatable. Hence it’s not that the animals don’t need the supplement, it’s just that the “vehicle” or content of the block is not palatable and therefore preventing or restricting intake.

MegaMin lick blocks only contain 10% salt, which is quite low in comparison, as they are predominantly a premium mineral supplement, however this 10% salt is often too high for stock in the above situations. It’s not uncommon for differing properties to require different supplementation. We would recommend trying a low salt Loose Supplement like our MegaMin Graze & Grow low (5%) salt version as it also contains more palatable protein meals, which helps entice most stock to consume. Lick blocks may seem more convenient, but if stock won’t eat them then they aren’t going to work for you.

How do I decrease the intake of supplements?

Livestock are initially prone to consume greater levels of product at the beginning of a supplementation program.  Usually due to particular cravings for a particular mineral, element or protein that the mix provides. To help reduce intake, add one bag of loose mix to one bag of salt and then slowly decrease the salt content as the consumption rates fall below recommended daily intakes.  Alternatively, lactating cows and weaners may decrease intake quicker with the addition of mixing an equal weight of dicalcium phosphate (DCP) and then slowly decrease DCP as the consumption slows.

How do I calculate daily intake?

Daily Intake = Kg of supplement  ÷ Number of days ÷ Number of Head  x  1000 (g in kg)

  • e.g. 200kg ÷ 5 days ÷ 400 head x 1000 = 100 grams per head per day
How do I calculate the cost of supplement per head?

Cost per head = Cost of supplement per tonne ÷ 1000 (kg in 1T) ÷ 1000 (g in kg) x Daily Intake

  • E.g. $990 ÷ 1000 ÷ 1000 x 100 = $0.099 (10 cents) per head per day
How does the Rumen work?

60-70% of all digestion occurs in the rumen.  The rumen and reticulum act as a fermentation vat wehre plant material is broken down by millions of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and protozoa).  Rumen conditions need to stay within a specific limited range to function properly.  The inter-dependence between the ruminant animal and ruminal microbes is known as a symbiotic relationship.  The animal provides the home and forage; the microbes digest the forage to supply nutrients for their own growth and reproduction.  The nutrients not utilised by the microbes and the microbes themselves, supply the animal the nutrients it requires for growth and reproduction.  Increasing the production of microbes in the rumen is the key to lifting production.

How can Urea be used safely and effectively?

Urea helps increase microbial activity in the rumen allowing stock to chase roughage.  It allows better digestion of roughage, therefore increasing dry matter intake. Livestock should never be started on supplements that have too high of a urea level. Troughs for feeding loose licks should be well drained, and preferably have a roof to prevent water pooling in the supplement.  Never introduce supplements to hungry or starving stock as they will most probably gorge on the supplement and consume urea levels that may prove toxic.  Always keep track of intake of supplement so as to manage the intake of urea.  Do not feed in conjunction with other types of supplements as toxicity may occur.  If using urea supplements, unlimited access to ample forage is required at all times.  Feed salt to identify and satisfy any salt cravings prior to supplementing.  Don’t let supplements run out.

What is Urea poisoning?

Urea is used as a source of non-protein nitrogen in some supplements.  In ruminants, nitrogen from urea is released in the rumen as ammonia and can be used by rumen microbes to make protein.  If more urea is consumed than what the microbes can metabolise, the ammonia is absorbed from the rumen into the blood where it is converted back to urea in the liver and excreted by the kidneys.  This pathway can easily become overwhelmed when excess ammonia and urea circulate in the blood causing poisoning.  Poisoning can occur rapidly and if livestock are found dead close to a urea supplement than suspect poisoning.

What are the most common causes of Urea poisoning?

  • Excess consumption of urea
  • Sudden introduction to high quantities of urea
  • Wet supplement containing urea, where the animal drinks urea water
  • Irregular consumption of supplement and therefore urea.
What are the signs of Urea poisoning?

Urea poisoning is usually identified by nervous signs such as:  twitching of ear and facial muscles, teeth grinding, frothy saliva, bloat, abdominal pain, rapid breathing, frequent urination, weakness, staggering, bellowing, violent struggling and terminal spasms.  Often animals are found dead near the source of urea supplement.

My cattle are chewing bones, what does this mean?

Bone chewing can be a symptom of phosphorus deficiency.  Phosphorus deficiency causes economic loss for cattle by reducing the ability to withstand drought, reducing fertility and stunting the development of young stock, as well as causing decreased production and deaths from secondary conditions such as Botulism.  MegaMin Extra Phosphorus is a safe supplement that provides available phosphorus in addition to braod spectrum macro and trace minerals and is suitable to be used all year.

Are MegaMin supplements safe to be in Rain/Wet Weather?

Most of our supplements do not contain urea and therefore are safe products in the event of rain. (MegaMin Dry Feed Blocks and MegaMin Graze & Grow do contain urea and therefore have to be protected from weather) In saying this, MegaMin Loose Supplements are best kept dry and while MegaMin Lick Blocks will tolerate wet weather, exposure to long periods of rain and weathering may reduce palatability.  Loose licks are best fed in drainable, covered troughs.

What is Rumensin?

Rumensin® is an ingredient in supplementary feeds. It helps cattle to digest their food more efficiently, providing more energy from every mouthful of pasture consumed. Rumensin® is scientifically-proven to improve feed efficiency, reproductive performance and aids in the control of bloat and prevention of coccidiosis.

Is Urea safe for horses?

A horse is slightly more tolerant than a ruminant to the addition of up to 4% of urea to its diet.  There is no benefit from feeding urea boosted cattle feeds to a horse.  There is a risk of toxicity if a horse consumes more urea than it can tolerate.  Some ruminant products contain and ingredient called monensin or Rumensin® that is toxic to horses.

Do I need to add extra buffers to my ration when I use MegaMin Feedlot Enhancer?

No, in replicated University Trials, MegaMin Mineral Blend Loose Supplement (the base mineral mix to all our livestock supplements) was proven to be an effective feedlot additive providing equivalent animal health protection and growth performance to an antibiotic.  It is still important to gradually introduce high grain feeds over a 2-3 week period and to provide adequate roughage to ensure rumen health.

What could be the cause of poor animal health and or fertility problems?

Poor animal health and fertility can be caused by many issues and if issues persist than consultation with a veterinarian is advised.  Nutritional reasons behind these issues could arise from:

  • Poor quality forage due to low soil nutrition
  • Insufficient feed conversion of fodder due to imbalance of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • The animal isn’t receiving its daily requirements of important nutrients to maintain health and reproduction.