Agri HourExploring the practicality of mineral blocks for livestock
─── ELSABÉ RICHARD 05:00 Tue, 30 Nov 2021
Mineral blocks are widely used by farmers to add to the nutritional intake of animals to better their growth and reproduction.
Speaking to OFM News, Miles Dicke, owner of Dicke Brahman - Idlewild Farm, talks about the viability of mineral salt blocks.
See PODCAST below
He says that mineral salt blocks are blocks that are used by farmers for various livestock and game. He says that these mineral blocks are molasses-based and that their usefulness comes from their supply of minerals for the growth and reproduction systems of animals. “They are essential for animals in different areas of Southern Africa where the soils and the grass and the leaves that stuff that the animals are eating are not sufficient in all the trace elements, which is why the mineral salt blocks are used quite widely,” says Dicke.
He explains that salt blocks can be used for a variety of animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, and game to mention a few. The composition of the blocks does differ to ensure that the mineral/salt blocks are manufactured in a way that suites the nutritional requirements of the various animal groups.
He says that salt blocks are well known and widely used for their efficiency and can be used for various applications. “Sometimes they even put in natural substances like aloe or Ivermectin to deworm certain animals but the most important purpose of the block is to add nutritional value to the grass,” adds Dicke.
Dicke says that the salt has some trace elements in chloride which are all interlinked to the achievement of a balanced diet for an animal to get the optimum minerals for optimum growth and reproduction of animals.
He explains that various compositions of mineral blocks are used based on the season and time of year.
The economic viability of the blocks is top-notch as their usefulness varies enormously, adds Dicke. He says that the blocks are very effective on farms where animals aren’t attended to on a daily basis.
“The block will be out there and they take a certain amount of it every day. Farmers can also make the blocks themselves, which adds to the feasibility of having mineral blocks on one’s farm," motivated Dicke.
He says that the one disadvantage of mineral blocks would be that there is not one specific mineral block for all animals and that the various animals will require their uniquely manufactured salt block which may be the only costly endeavour.
He concludes by saying that the blocks are more costly when compared to animal feed from “a bag”, however, their practicality and resistance to rain is exemplary.
OFM News/Lee Simmons