We put out the Free Choice Enterprises mineral feeder in mid-December. I’m amazed how much phosphorus the cows are eating. I filled three holes with phosphorus and they have eaten 2/3 of it. These pictures were taken on January 1.
The cows have nearly finished the phosphorus in this slot:
Below you can see (from left) kelp, redmond salt and phosphorus. I would have to find my way across Hoth to see what is in the last slot on the right. Sorry. The cows don’t seem to want the kelp. The salt has seen very little action and wasn’t full to begin with. The phosphorus on this end is about 50%.
On the other side I have another slot dedicated to phosphorus. On the left is unknown. Again, I’ll have to wander into the frozen tundra to see it now. Next is iodine then phosphorus. To the right is sulphur.
Keep in mind that every slot was full to the top when we started out. A fair amount of iodine, a little trace mineral, a little sulphur. But the cows have basically emptied two phosphorus slots. My understanding is that this is because phosphorus is hard to come by in stored forages. Once we green up again in the spring we should see much less of a need for phosphorus. But I didn’t anticipate this level of need. Basically, 10 cows are going through a bag of phosphorus ($28) every week. Wow! So…back to the budget we go.
The other surprise for me here was that the cows turned their back on kelp. They have absolutely consumed kelp all year up till now. My Fertrell dealer suggested they were using the kelp heavily in the spring to meet their magnesium needs and he suggested I put out some epsom salts. Next year I don’t think I’ll have to guess what they need. I’ll just watch the mineral box and see what goes down.