What do lick tubs cost? That’s a very broad question, and it varies greatly between brands. To break it down, we need to dig in and analyze the factors that drive costs either up or down so you can make the best decision for your ranch.
With most lick tubs, the cost is engineered to be right around the magic number of $100. The hundred dollar bill seems to be an average price point, and as soon as tub prices stray too far off of that, you probably start asking why.
It’s important to realize, though, that high-quality mineral tubs will be quite a bit higher than $100. When you see tubs that are well above $100, there are a few key factors to check for, to make sure the tubs are worth your money.
1. High Trace Mineral Levels (100% Protected)
Ensuring your mineral tubs are made up of 100% chelated mineral is of all importance. Many times, tubs list good mineral levels, but when you dig in further, you’ll see that 0% or maybe only 10%, 20%, or 30% of the minerals are actually protected, and the rest of the mineral is often made up of sulfates and oxides. Ultimately, a large percentage of the minerals in those tubs are going to get tied up in the rumen and never actually reach the cow’s bloodstream, because they aren’t protected.
2. No Sulfates or Oxides
By eliminating all sulfates and oxides, you enable mineral to enter the cow’s blood. When mineral enters the blood is when the real results start to show. Results like increased breed-up, optimized genetics, and getting more out of your existing land base.
3. High-Quality Digestion Package
The majority of protein tubs on the market today include around 20-30% protein with often half of the protein coming from NPN, which, as we all know, is often not as useable as all-natural protein. In order for a cow to process urea it takes the equivalent of all of the energy out of approximately 7-8 lbs of corn. Since most range cow diets are low energy, forage based diets the shortage of energy and thus the lack of usage of urea is a real problem. The bigger problem is, a cow needs far more protein than what comes as direct fed from a protein tub. The majority of the daily protein requirements of a cow are met from rumen microbes. Protein provided from dead rumen microbes is called microbial protein.
A quality mineral package should focus not strictly on protein in the tub, but more importantly, optimizing the microbial protein. To do this, a good digestion package is key to stimulate and increase the microbe population so that your cattle can better-digest and better-utilize their forages and at the same time have more microbes that are being used as a protein source further down the GI tract. By getting the full potential out of existing forages, you will also be able to see an offset in cost with more hay savings.
Ultimately, the cost of lick tubs varies. But, if you are looking for ways to optimize your herd and make them more efficient, you are probably going to spend more than $100 per lick tub. In order for a cow to digest and utilize the resources she has, she needs to have a quality supplement to help her along the way.