The Importance Of Soil Tests For Crop And Livestock Nutrition

“Should I do a soil test?” was the question I was asked on the phone tonight, and my standard response is “yes”.

If you intend to plant anything, a soil test can reveal nutrient deficiencies (and excesses), and shed light on other issues such as soil structure. Tonight, however, the conversation was more about livestock nutrition and how to get stock through the winter months.

Again, I advised, “Yes – a soil test provides insight into indicators such as Salt (Sodium) and Phosphorus, and because these two nutrients are key drivers of fodder and supplement intake, important supplementing decisions can be based on this information:’

We know livestock can detect salt and Phosphorus, however, we don’t fully understand the ability of cattle to detect other minerals and trace elements. In our travels we come across cattle showing various symptoms of ’mineral deficiencies’. Often it’s licking dirt, chewing bones or eating bark off trees. Others report cattle eating stones, licking battery terminals and even eating poly pipe. This photo (below), was taken recently on a property in Southern Qld.

We don’t know exactly what they are chasing, but we do know that these cravings generally stops when using MegaMin. We have had a report recently that in extremely deficient country in Western Australia, MegaMin stopped cattle eating stones and also reduced the frequency of deformed calves and ‘peg leg’ symptoms.

Always remember it’s the cost per head per day that is important when feeding supplements, not the cost per tonne of supplement. For instance, if MegaMin Protein Supplement is fed at a target intake of 200 grams per day, your investment for winter supplements would be around 25 cents/head per day. If your cattle grazing dry feed with this supplement gain an additional 0.5kg a day and sell for $2.80 per kg – that’s a $1 .40 gain for a 25 cent spend – not a bad return on investment.

So give it a try. Minerals are vitally important for stock performance and MegaMin is one of the broadest spectrum mineral and trace element supplements on the market.

For further information, please contact AgSolutions on 1800 81 57 57.