Registration opens for ‘Mineral Nutrition for the Beef Cow Herd’ educational series

Extension beef cattle specialists from the four universities are accepting registrations for the series

educational series
The "Mineral Nutrition for the Beef Cow Herd" program will give producers more information about specific mineral challenges on their ranch and how to deal with them effectively. NDSU photo

Ranchers will have an opportunity to learn more about mineral nutrition for beef cattle through an educational series hosted by North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University (SDSU), Montana State University and the University of Wyoming.

Extension beef cattle specialists from the four universities are accepting registrations for the series, titled “Mineral Nutrition for the Beef Cow Herd.”

Started in South Dakota in 2017, the program was extended to North Dakota in 2018 and to Montana and Wyoming this year.

The program, which was spurred by increased interest in grazing mineral nutrition, consists of educational webinars in June and submission of forage and water samples to a laboratory with follow-up with Extension personnel, ranch visits by Extension personnel and more educational webinars in the fall.

“Mineral supplements may cost producers between $20 and $50 or more per cow per year,” says Janna Block, livestock systems specialist at NDSU’s Hettinger Research Extension Center. “While minerals are a small component of beef cow diets, they are critical for a variety of functions in the body.


“This program gives producers more information about specific mineral challenges on their ranch and how to deal with them effectively to increase value and efficiency of mineral supplementation,” she adds.

“I am excited about the opportunity to expand this program into Montana and Wyoming to reach a larger number of beef cattle producers and help them make positive changes to their mineral program, health of their cattle and the profitability of their operations,” says Adele Harty, SDSU Extension cow-calf field specialist. “This program has evolved, and improvements have been made every year to address the challenges and concerns brought forth by participants. As a result, this program provides hands-on, individualized assistance to ranchers that can make a meaningful difference to their operations.”

In 2020, the educational sessions were transitioned to a virtual format, which is being maintained this year, providing the opportunity to expand to a larger geographical region and reach a larger group of producers. The June sessions will provide basic knowledge about mineral nutrition along with tools to help producers successfully monitor mineral consumption and make adjustments to increase consumption.

The second part during the summer includes the submission of forage and water samples to Ward Laboratories, which has partnered with Extension to provide a discount for participants to get their samples analyzed. Once the Extension personnel receive the results, they will work with the participants to interpret the results and determine what changes could be beneficial to the operation.

The third component that is critical to the success of the program is ranch visits. This provides an opportunity for the participants to share their specific situation and challenges with the Extension personnel one-on-one to find solutions or simply fine-tune what they have been doing.

The series concludes with educational sessions in the fall, where all of the information that has been shared during the previous five months is brought together in an applied format.

To date, the “Mineral Nutrition for the Beef Cow Herd” series has drawn participants from 79 operations, plus 22 industry and Extension personnel from South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado and Illinois.

The program is open to beef cattle producers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Surrounding areas are welcome; however, the ranch visit component of the program may be virtual.


North Dakota producers who would like to participate in the program can register online at the NDSU Hettinger REC Marketplace site at . If you have questions or would like additional information about the program, contact Block at 701-567-4323 or .

Producers in other states should reach out to Harty at 605-394-1722 or for South Dakota, Shelby Rosasco at 307-766-2329 or for Wyoming or Megan van Emon at 406-874-8286 or for Montana.

This year, registration has been reduced to $130 per operation, thanks to a donation from Micronutrients, a Nutreco company. This fee includes the first forage and water analysis and travel to the ranch by Extension professionals.

The first webinar sessions are scheduled for June 8, 10, 15, 17 and 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mountain time (7:30 to 9 p.m. Central time). Sessions will be recorded for later viewing by participants. Dates for the fall webinars will be announced in the future.

What To Read Next
Get Local