The importance of soil health.
This is a hot topic recently, as ranchers are starting to become more aware of the benefits of healthy soil. Firstly, it is important to understand just how minerals affect soil. In reality, it can go both positively and negatively, but the healthier your soil is, the healthier your grass will be, and the better your cattle will be. And in turn, we, as people who consume that meat become healthier.
What can harm the soil?
The first step to take is ensuring that the microbes in the soil are not being disrupted. Unfortunately, many mineral packs contain ingredients like sulfates and oxides, which are very harmful to microbes. And not only are microbes in the soil being ruined, but also microbes in the rumen of your cow!
How can minerals affect soil health?
Let's look at an example. One of the most common ingredients in hoof baths for cattle is copper sulfate. Dairies run their cattle through these hoof baths to help clean the cow's feet and provide wound treatment. It is also used in some ponds, because it is excellent at killing off microbes in the algae. Clearly, these ingredients have their place, because no one likes algae in their pond (right?). But in a cow's rumen, and ultimately, in the soil is probably not the best spot for sulfates to end up. And when tubs contain these sulfates and oxides, it means that these harmful ingredients are going to end up in the places we don't want them, killing off the good microbes.
How do we ensure these harmful ingredients stay where they belong?
There are a few, not very many, but a few mineral packages out there that have 100% protected trace minerals. This ensures the minerals make it through the rumen without harming any of the good microbes. When they get through the rumen, they can then be absorbed into the bloodstream, and therefore positively impact the animal. There are going to be some minerals that don't make it into the blood; that's just science. But the good thing here is that when the minerals are 100% protected, they are not going to have a negative impact on the soil. They are not going to destroy what they come in contact with on the ground.
The big picture.
At the end of the day, we believe it is important to not only focus on what is good for cattle, but for the soil, as well. Soil is what is going to help cattle become healthier and more productive. And a healthier cow means healthier meat, and so the cycle continues.
If you have any other questions, please reach out! We'd be more than happy to chat