Lack of sodium can be a production limiting issue. It is easily fixed with salt.
Salt blocks provide a convenient and cost effective method of supplementing animals with sodium. The addition of minerals, especially cobalt, iodine and selenium can enable significant intakes to come from salt blocks.
Animals have a strong appetite for salt but individual salt needs will vary. Factors influencing needs include:
- Sodium and chloride levels in the pasture
- Sodium and chloride levels in the water
- The production cycle – growth, reproduction and lactation will increase requirements
- Temperature/humidity – sweating will increase sodium requirements
- Potassium levels in the diet – animals will try to balance high potassium feeds with additional salt to maintain fluid balance
- Low sodium levels in bulk feeds
Offering free-choice salt blocks year round will enable animals to supplement their needs as required and maintain production.