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Cattlemen are aware of the impact high cost labor has on profit; thus, management procedures which reduce labor requirements are important. One management tool frequently used is regulating feed intake with salt.
In addition, self-feeding supplements tend to allow timid, slow-eating cows to get their share and it is an easy method of providing Vitamin A, phosphorus and other feed additives. However, there are disadvantages to feeding salt-concentrate mixes. Salt is not a precise regulator of intake since certain individuals will tolerate more salt than others and abundant water is essential.
Daily salt requirement for mature cattle is less than 1 oz/head/day; however, voluntary intake often exceeds minimum needs. Because there are practical limits to the amount of salt cattle eat, salt can be used to restrict the consumption of highly palatable feeds such as grain and supplement. In such instances daily voluntary intake of salt will approximate 0.1 pound salt/100 pounds body weight for most classes of cattle. This fact sheet is a guide for formulating salt-limited supplements.