Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; 231
Title: Salt sick
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: Salt sick its cause and prevention ; Mineral supplements for cattle
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 23 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Becker, R. B ( Raymond Brown ), 1892-1989
Neal, W. M ( Wayne Miller ), 1905-
Shealy, A. L
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1931
Subject: Cattle -- Diseases -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Deficiency diseases in domestic animals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Iron deficiency diseases   ( lcsh )
Dietary supplements   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: by R.B. Becker, W.M. Neal, and A.L. Shealy.
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026421
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000924078
oclc - 18204077
notis - AEN4682

Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

Bulletin 231

Wilmon Newell, Director





Fig. 1.-This animal shows the typical emaciation and gauntness observed
in advanced cases of salt sick, or nutritional anemia.

Bulletins will be sent free upon application to the
Agricultural Experiment Station

June, 1931

P. K. YONGE, Chairman, Pensacola RAYMER F. MAGUIRE, Orlando
A. H. BLENDING, Leesburg FRANK J. WIDEMAN, West Palm Beach
W. B. DAVIS, Perry J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee

JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President R. M. FULGHUM, B.S.A., Asst. Editor
H. HAROLD HUME, M.S., Asst. Dir., Re- RUBY NEWHALL, Secretary
search K. H. GRAHAM, Business Manager
S. T. FLEMING, A.B., Asst. Dir., Admin. RACHEL McQUARRIE, Accountant


W. E. STOKES, M.S., Agronomist
W. A. LEUKEL, Ph.D., Associate
G. E. RITCHEY, M.S.A., Assistant*
FRED H. HULL, M.S., Assistant
J. D. WARNER, M.S., Assistant
JOHN P. CAMP, M.S.A., Assistant
A. L. SHEALY, D.V.M., Veterinarian in
E. F. THOMAS, D.V.M., Asst. Veterinarian
R. B. BECKER, Ph.D., Associate in Dairy
W. M. NEAL, Ph.D., Assistant in Animal
C. R. DAWSON, B.S.A., Assistant Dairy
R. W. RUPRECHT, Ph.D., Chemist
R. M. BARNETTE, Ph.D., Associate
C. E. BELL, M.S., Assistant
J. M. COLEMAN, B.S., Assistant
H. W. WINSOR, B.S.A., Assistant
H. W. JONES, B.S., Assistant
E. F. GROSSMAN, M.A., Assistant
PAUL W. CALHOUN, B.S., Assistant

C. V. NOBLE, Ph.D., Agricultural Economist
BRUCE McKINLEY, A.B., B.S.A., Associate
M. A. BROOKER, M.S.A., Assistant
L. W. GADDUM, Ph.D., Biochemist
C. F. AHMANN, Ph.D., Physiologist
J. R. WATSON, A. M., Entomologist
A. N. TISSOT, M.S., Assistant
H. E. BRATLEY, M.S.A., Assistant
L. W. ZIEGLER, B.S., Assistant
A. F. CAMP, Ph.D., Horticulturist
HAROLD MOWRY, B.S.A., Associate
M. R. ENSIGN, M.S., Assistant
A. L. STAHL, Ph.D., Assistant
G. H. BLACKMON, M.S.A., Pecan Culturist
C. B. VAN CLEEF, M.S.A., Greenhouse
W. B. TISDALE, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
G. F. WEBER, Ph.D., Associate
A. H. EDDINS, Ph.D., Assistant
K. W. LOUCKS, M.S., Assistant
ERDMAN WEST, B.S., Mycologist

L. O. GRATZ, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Pathologist in charge, Tobacco Exp. Sta. (Quincy)
R. R. KINCAID, M.S., Assistant Plant Pathologist (Quincy)
W. A. CARVER, Ph.D., Assistant, Cotton Investigations (Quincy)
RAYMOND M. CROWN, B.S.A., Field Asst., Cotton Investigations (Quincy)
JESSE REEVES, Farm Superintendent, Tobacco Experiment Station (Quincy)
J. H. JEFFERIES, Superintendent, Citrus Experiment Station (Lake Alfred)
GEO. D. RUEHLE, Ph.D., Assistant Plant Pathologist (Lake Alfred)
W. A. KUNTZ, A.M., Assistant Plant Pathologist (Lake Alfred)
B. R. FUDGE, Ph.D., Assistant Chemist (Lake Alfred)
W. L. THOMPSON, B.S., Assistant Entomologist (Lake Alfred)
R. V. ALLISON, Ph.D., Soils Specialist in charge Everglades Experiment Sta. (Belle Glade)
R. W. KIDDER, B.S., Foreman, Everglades Experiment Station (Belle Glade)
R. N. LOBDELL, M.S., Assistant Entomologist (Belle Glade)
F. D. STEVENS, B.S., Sugarcane Agronomist (Belle Glade)
H. H. WEDGEWORTH, M.S., Associate Plant Pathologist (Belle Glade)
B. A. BOURNE, M.S., Associate Plant Physiologist (Belle Glade)
J. R. NELLER, Ph.D., Associate Biochemist (Belle Glade)
A. DAANE, Ph.D., Associate Agronomist (Belle Glade)
FRED YOUNT, Office Assistant (Belle Glade)
M. R. BEDSOLE, M.S.A., Assistant Chemist (Belle Glade)
A. N. BROOKS, Ph.D., Associate Plant Pathologist (Plant City)
R. E. NOLEN, M.S.A., Field Assistant in Plant Pathology: (Plant City)
A. S. RHOADS, Ph.D., Associate Plant Pathologist (Cocoa)
C. M. TUCKER, Ph.D., Associate Plant Pathologist (Hastings)
H. S. WOLFE, Ph.D., Associate Horticulturist (Homestead)
L. R. TOY, B.S.A., Assistant Horticulturist (Homestead)
STACY O. HAWKINS, M.A., Field Assistant in Plant Pathology (Homestead)
D. G. A. KELBERT, Field Assistant in Plant Pathology (Bradenton)
FRED W. WALKER, Assistant Entomologist (Monticello)
D. A. SANDERS, D.V.M., Associate Veterinarian (West Palm Beach)
M. N. WALKER, Ph.D., Associate Plant Pathologist (Leesburg)
W. B. SHIPPY, Ph.D., Assistant Plant Pathologist (Leesburg)
C. C. GOFF, M.S., Assistant Entomologist (Leesburg)
J. W. WILSON, Ph.D., Assistant Entomologist (Pierson)
*In cooperation with U. S. Department of Agriculture.


I. SALT SICK ... -.... .......-............ ... ..... 5

Economic losses ...--.......~.------ ----------...--..-- 5

Early station work .-..............--.-- .------....--.. -----.-- 5

Salt sick, a nutritional anemia; its cause....................-------.......... 6

Symptoms of salt sick ....................... ---- -----......-- 6

Cattle affected ...-...........----.--.......----..--.-- 7

Changing cattle on the range....---.......................... 9

"Salt sick" lick as supplement ............---- -...- ....---..--.... 10

II. MINERAL SUPPLEMENT FOR CATTLE --.......--.....--- .. ..........--.---... 12

Introduction ..-----..----..-..--.....--------.. ---........------- 12

Common salt ........... -..----....-....... ..---.......-- 13

Salt consumption of cattle, Table I.......................... ..... 14

Calcium ......-- -----......- -....... -----..------.-- ----------..--. 14

Mineral content of Florida roughages, Table II....-...............-. 15

Bonemeal consumption by cattle, Table III-..............-............. 16

Phosphorus -.......... ............--........... ........ 16

Iodine ..........--- --...... -----........... .---.-..-....--..... 19

Sulfur ...........----- ...................... ... 19

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS --........... ...-........ --------... .-- ........... 22

RECOMMENDATIONS ........ ..........---- .........-- ....-...... ..--.....22


*t^ '' "f
*^ i ~'i'~"''^"'~*?*Aii.-1'

A ~w' '

Fig. 2.-A calf showing an advanced stage of salt sick, or nutritional
anemia. Note emaciation, lack of condition as indicated by the hair,
appearance of the eye, and that the animal shows evidence of diar-
rhoea. (Cf. Fig. 3.)

'* ', ..* .. ": .* ,!.-

Fig. 3.-The calf shown in Fig. 2, recovered when given access to the iron-
copper supplement. In advanced stages, a more soluble form of iron
was used. In this instance, bonemeal was added to the salt sick lick,
for the soil area also lacked phosphorus.



*'*<'^'* ..-, .



Salt sick is an age-old problem with Florida cattle grazing on
certain types of soils on the range and under fence. It is the
greatest single cause of loss to the cattle industry of the state,
because of the greatly reduced calf crop, retarded growth and
reduced yields of beef per acre. Many animals die of the con-
dition. Changing cattle back and forth from "salt sick" to
"healthy" ranges lowers efficiency in utilization of the forages.
On large areas, cattle are no longer raised because "they just
won't live on this land."
The Florida Experiment Station has worked on different
phases of this cattle problem intermittently for over 40 years.
The earliest work with livestock in 1888 dealt with this con-
dition, when Dr. G. T. Maxwell noted its similarity in some
respects to "southern cattle fever." Dr. A. W. Bitting inquired
into the symptoms and probable causes in 1892 and 1893. The
Florida legislature petitioned the United States Department of
Agriculture for the loan of an expert to investigate salt sickness.
In 1901, Drs. H. E. Stockbridge, W. E. French, and J. E. Ennis
studied the condition, conducted postmortems and treatments
with affected cattle, believing it to be a disease of the digestive
tract. Dr. Charles F. Dawson at first noted its similarity to
chronic tick fever, but finally considered hookworms to be the
causative agents. Stockbridge and Dawson both used forms of
iron among their remedies. Mr. Fred N. Burt at the instance of
the Cattle Raisers' Association of Florida, failed to obtain any
protective action from the use of salt, bonemeal, and sulfur.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Study of salt sickness was renewed in 1925 by Dr. A. L. Shealy.
Scope of the investigation was expanded in 1929 with assignment
of Purnell funds, personnel and equipment to the problem. The
present popular publication is a summary of the results obtained
during the first three years, and will be followed by a technical
publication presenting in detail the work upon which this bul-
letin is based.
Investigation of salt sick at the Florida station has proved this
condition to be a naturally-occurring nutritional anemia in cattle,
the feed of which has been restricted largely to grass forages
grown on certain white and gray sandy soils, and residual muck
and peat soils not subject to overflow from more fertile water-
Investigations conducted in connection with this study have
shown that the forage plants grown on these soils contain less
of iron, or of iron and copper, than those from more fertile soil
areas. It was also found that livestock dependent on these for-
ages suffer from the nutritional anemia known locally as salt
sick. When affected cattle were given iron and traces of copper
to supplement these deficient forages the condition was overcome
in all but most advanced cases. The deficiency of these elements
in the feeds is the cause of the condition called salt sick.
Many other names besides salt sick are given to this con-
dition, according to the character of the local ranges on which
this iron and copper deficiency occurs. Local names applied in
Florida include bay sick, cow sick, hill sick, marsh sick, prairie
sick, scrub sick, sick, and the sick. In New Zealand an iron
deficiency is called locally bush-sickness, Tauganda disease or
the skinnies; in King's Island, Tasmania, as coastiness; in Kenya
Colony, British East Africa, as Nakuruitis from the name of the
district in which is occurs. Daising, pining, or vinquish of
sheep on certain soils of the Scottish Borders is an anemia.
Goats, sheep, and swine also are affected on certain of the Flor-
ida areas.
Affected animals exhibit almost complete loss of appetite,
emaciation, weakness, and pale mucous membranes. Some ani-
mals have abnormal appetites in that they refuse all feed offered,
but eat dry weeds ordinarily refused by healthy cattle. They
are reported to eat clay, sand, rags, and other objects at times.

Bulletin 231, Salt Sick: Its Cause and Prevention 7

In some cases, diarrhoea is present, as shown in Fig. 2, while in
others the droppings may be hard and dry, resembling those of
sheep. Animals in good condition lose flesh rapidly. Growth
is retarded, some two-year-old animals having attained as little
as half normal weight for this age. Sexual maturity is delayed.
Upon postmortem examination, sand may or may not be found
in the stomachs. Parasites may aggravate the condition but are
not associated with it necessarily. The blood is pale in color,
having as little as one-fourth of the normal amount of red pig-

Fig. 4.-A 12-year-old cow in advanced salt sick condition. The blood con-
tained only a third of the normal amount of red pigment. (Cf. Figs.
5 and 6.)
ment (hemoglobin). Volume of blood is greatly reduced. The
pulpy portion parenchymaa) of the spleen is atrophied, so that
the connective tissues (trabeculae) constitute a greater portion
of the spleen. The liver and kidneys are somewhat pale in color.
The heart muscle is flabby and lacks tone. Three typical cases
of salt sick in cattle are illustrated in Figs. 1, 2 and 4.

The condition called salt sick occurs more frequently among
cattle past six months of age, and in heifers just after dropping
the first calf. It has been noted in cattle of all ages and either
sex, kept long on the deficient ranges. Greater mortality has
been noted among young cattle. Sheep, goats, and swine are

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

reported to be similarly affected on certain of these ranges.
There is little evidence of seasonal incidence of the condition
among cattle, other than that the practice of moving cattle on
the ranges brings them onto the deficient areas at certain sea-
sons. Dairy cattle that receive four pounds or more of mixed
concentrates daily seldom are affected.

Fig. 5.-The cow in Fig. 4 recovered when three ounces of a 6 percent
solution of ferric ammonium citrate were administered daily as a
drench. The purchased concentrates supplied traces of copper.

Fig. 6.-Full recovery of the animal shown in Figs. 4 and 5, when the
same treatment was continued. The blood had returned to normal
red color, indicative of complete recovery.

Bulletin 231, Salt Sick: Its Cause and Prevention 9

An extensive field study of the condition, and observations by
many experienced cattlemen, point to definite ranges where cattle
gradually become salt sick if restricted too long to them. Own-
ers of cattle long since have discovered a practical means of cor-
recting this condition. Cattle are permitted to graze on the de-
ficient range areas for approximately six to ten months. At the
end of this time, or sooner with affected animals, the cattle are
moved onto heavier (clay and clay subsoil, or clay overflowed)
soil areas where they make rapid recovery and restore the sup-
ply of mineral elements that are lacking on the deficient ranges.
After they are restored to a good state of mineral reserve, these

Fig. 7.-An early stage of salt sick in a mature cow. Although grain was
offered, the animal had little appetite. (Cf. Fig. 8.)

cattle can range again on the deficient areas for another six to
ten months' period. Thus the deficient ranges can be utilized,
and the "healthy" ranges used most efficiently with a larger
number of cattle. Many owners also place some red clay in the
drinking water, in the hope that it will tend to alleviate the con-
As ranges are broken up and cattle are restricted under fence
where they cannot move periodically to heavier, more fertile
soils, the deficient elements must be supplied to them by other
means. A large proportion of the mixed dairy feeds used in
Florida have been grown on high-mineral soils. Legume forages

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

usually contain larger percentages of several useful minerals
than do grasses grown on the same soils. When natural
feeds do not supply sufficient iron and copper (the elements,
the lack of which has caused the condition known as salt sick),
these may be made available in the form of a mineral supplement.

Fig. 8.-The cow shown in Fig. 7, after recovery by addition of a soluble
iron supplement to the drinking water. Mixed grain was fed, and
was eaten in increasing amounts as the appetite returned.
As the result of investigations in progress at the Florida Agri-
cultural Experiment Station, the present recommendation is to
give cattle on salt sick soil areas access to a "salt sick" lick con-
sisting of 100 pounds of common salt, 25 pounds of red oxide of
iron and 1 pound of finely ground copper sulfate. Since copper
sulfate is poisonous to animals, it is essential that these be mixed
thoroughly. Place this salt lick in a box, and immediately be-
side it place plain unmixed common salt where cattle may have
free choice of which they prefer. By following this practice,
cattle may have the iron-copper supplement in not too great
amounts, or pure salt, as they desire. Efficiency of these sup-

Bulletin 231, Salt Sick: Its Cause and Prevention 11

plements in overcoming salt sick when the condition is not too
far advanced, is shown by improved condition of the cattle in
Figs. 37 5, 6, and 8. For more advanced cases, one-half pound of
ferric ammonium citrate and two and one-fourth grams of pow-
dered copper sulfate are dissolved in one gallon of water. Of
this stock solution, the amount for a mature cow per day is three
fluid ounces, and for a smaller animal two fluid ounces. This may
be placed in the drinking water, or given as a drench.
More detailed information relative to salt sickness in cattle will
be presented in a technical bulletin at a later date.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station


Cattle under natural conditions obtain practically all of the
required mineral elements from forage plants. The chief ex-
ception is the use of natural salt springs and salt licks in cer-
tain regions as sources of common salt. In a few restricted
regions, drinking water contains sufficient salt, as it occurs on
salt marshes, near natural salt deposits, in lake beds of old
inland seas (Great Salt Lake and others), and near seacoasts
where the prevailing winds carry salt spray inland. Carnivorous
animals derive their salt from the blood and flesh of their prey,
but herbivorous animals require more salt than is supplied in
the vegetation, except under the conditions just noted.
Plants in turn depend upon the soil and soil moisture for their
mineral elements. This fact is recognized in application of
mineral fertilizers such as phosphate, potash, lime, sulfur (on
certain volcanic soils), copper, iron, manganese, and other ele-
ments. Legumes require more lime and phosphorus than do
grasses, and build these elements into their structure. Live-
stock obtain more mineral matter from legumes than from
grasses, even though the grasses are grown on the same soil.
Forage plants growing on a clay soil contain more iron than do
those on white and gray sandy soils.
Certain mineral elements are needed in large amounts in the
animal body. Other minerals needed in very small amounts
are nevertheless necessary to perform specific functions in the
nutrition of the body. Common salt is the source of hydrochloric
acid for digestive action in the true stomach, and for salt in the
blood and sweat. Cows in heavy milk flow consume more feeds
and require more salt than do younger cattle, oxen, mature bulls,
or range steers.
Lime and phosphorus make up a large part of the bone, of the
ash of blood and milk, and of muscle tissues. The proportions
of lime and phosphorus vary in these different uses. Milk con-
tains over 0.7 pounds of ash in each 100 pounds. A large part
of this ash is lime and phosphorus. Cows in medium milk flow'
put out more ash in the milk each year than is contained in the

'Becker, R. B., McGilliard, P. C., and Boehr, J. W. Feeding Dairy Cows.
Okla. Ext. Circular. 246:1-24. 1928.

Bulletin 231, Mineral Supplements for Cattle

entire body of a three-year-old fat steer'. The average milk yield
of Jersey cows in the Florida station dairy herd during the past
year was 6,026 pounds of milk, equivalent to an annual output
in the milk alone of 43.99 pounds of ash. Mineral matter is re-
quired to build the body of the calf. New-born calves contain
from 1.7 to 3.0 pounds of ash, depending upon their birth
weight' '. Cattle store fair amounts of lime and phosphorus
in the skeleton, while some of the lesser mineral elements are
stored in such glands as the liver, spleen, thyroid gland and
others, and in bone marrow.
When rations are deficient in minerals, supplements are need-
ed continually or at regular intervals to supply a feed require-
ment. Mineral supplements are not to be regarded as medicines
which affect a permanent cure, as from a disease. They are food
nutrients required by the body for its life functions.


The need for common salt as a mineral supplement is more
widely recognized, and knowledge of its need by man and beast
has been realized longer than has that for any other mineral.
Salt is an important constituent of blood, of perspiration or
sweat, and especially as a source of the hydrochloric acid used
by animals as a necessary agent for digestion in the true stom-
ach. Early work relative to salt requirements was conducted by
Bunge of Germany in 1874, and by Dr. S. M. Babcock of the Wis-
consin experiment station".
Salt is usually made accessible to cattle in compressed blocks
or in loose form that they may take or leave it according to their
needs. Salt requirements for maintenance and growth are ap-
preciably less than are those for production of milk, as has been
shown by records of salt consumption by dairy cows and young
steers at the Florida and other experiment stations. Salt con-
sumption by these classes of cattle under different feeding con-
ditions are presented in Table I.

'Haecker, T. L. Investigations in beef production. Minn. Agr. Exp.
Sta. Bul. 193:1-112. 1920.
"Eekles, C. H. The nutrients required to develop the bovine fetus. Mo.
Agr. Exp. Sta. Res. Bul. 26:1-36. 1916.
'Haigh, L. D., Moulton, C. R., and Trowbridge, P. F. Composition of
the bovine at birth. Mo. Agr. Exp. Sta. Res. Bul. 38:1-47. 1920.
"Babcock, S. M. The addition of salt to the ration of dairy cows. Wise.
Agr. Exp. Sta. 22nd. Ann. Rpt. 126-156. 1905.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station


Class of Cattle

2-year old steers ....
Hereford steers and
heifers ..................
Hereford steers ......
Hereford steers ......
Hereford steers ......
Dairy heifers ..........
Dairy cows ..............

Dairy cows ..............

Dairy cows ..............
Dairy cows ..............
Dairy cows ..............

ibr ? Character of Rations




grass pasture ....................
grass pasture ...................
grass pasture ................
alfalfa hay .......................
corn silage ..........................
legume hays, corn silage
and mixed grains ............
legume roughages, corn
silage, and mixed
grains ...............................
legume roughages, corn
silage, and mixed
grains ..............................
legume hays, corn silage,
and mixed grains .......
alfalfa hay, sorghum sil-
ages, and mixed grains ..
"winter rations" ................





Mixed dairy feeds usually contain one pound of salt in 100
pounds of grain. This is adequate for medium and low produc-
ing cows. Additional salt should be placed where cows have
access to it, that animals in heavy milk flow may obtain larger
amounts to meet their requirements. Cattle on pasture are
sometimes neglected so far as salt is concerned. Salt may be
placed in a covered box, protected from the weather, at some
convenient location in the pasture where they may obtain such
amounts as are needed. An illustration of such a covered salt
box is shown in Fig. 9.


A large proportion of the calcium or lime obtained by cattle
is derived from the leaves and stems of plants. Seeds and grains
contain relatively little calcium. A familiar comparison of this
difference in lime content, is seen in the bone strength of hogs
fattened on corn alone, and of those receiving corn and pasture,
either legume or grass. Bones from the hogs receiving corn only
are weak, due to lack of calcium in the feed, while bones from
swine on good pasture are strong and sturdy. Strength and
quality of the bones of horses in the Bluegrass Region in Ken-





Bulletin 231, Mineral Supplements for Cattle

tucky, on lime-rich soils, has been widely heralded, and is due
to this same fact that the roughages contain plenty of lime.
Legume roughages contain from two to five times as much
lime as do grasses grown on the same soils. Forages from soils
low in lime usually contain less calcium. Analyses of typical
Florida forages illustrates these points. A brief list of such
analyses is presented in Table II.
Num- ,Phos-
Forage Source her calcium hos Iron
Forage Source of Sam- en phorus
of Sam-percent ercen1percent
ples percent

Corn silage ........... sandy soil ................ 6 0.262 0.270 0.0174
Corn silage ............ Mid-west ................ .... .326 .266 ........
Soybean silage .... sandy clay soil ...... 13 1.287 .398 .0364
Green soybeans .... sandy clay soil ...... 10 1.213 .415 .0249
Lespedeza .............. sandy clay soil ...... 8 1.093 .251 .0504
Peanut hay ............ light sand soil ........ 1 1.090 .461 .0803
Peanut hay ............ fertilized muck ...... 1 1.125 .078 .0107
Beggar weed ........ sandy clay soil .... 1 1.110 .302 .0169
Wiregrass .............. light sand soil ........ 59 .141 .141 .0173
Wiregrass ..............I clay and red sand 37 .187 .165 .0211

Dairy cows that receive very limited amounts of roughage,
often restricted to grasses grown on low-lime sandy soils, do not
obtain sufficient calcium to meet their requirements for main-
tenance, reproduction, and a reasonable level of milk production.
Cows do not decrease the proportion of calcium in the milk under
these conditions'. Rather, they withdraw mineral matter from
the skeleton to make up for that which the feed lacks. Mineral
is withdrawn from the bones until they are weakened even to the
point that they may be broken easily. The cow pictured in Fig.
10 illustrates this condition. With depletion of mineral reserves,
milk production is reduced to meet the level of mineral intake
in the feeds. When the ration is supplemented with mineral
matter in the form of bonemeal, milk production in subsequent
lactations is allowed to return to a normal level, as is shown by
work in progress at the Florida station.
Commercially mixed dairy feeds approved by the College Feed
Conference Board contain, in addition to grains and milling by-
products, 1 percent each of feeding bonemeal, finely ground cal-
cium limestone (calcium carbonate), and common salt. Certain

'Becker, R. B., Eckles, C. H., and Palmer, L. S. Effect of mineral de-
ficiency on the yield and composition of cow's milk. Jour. Dairy Sci. 10:169-
175. 1927.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

of the high-protein mixed feeds
if contain 2 percent of bonemeal
S t and 1 percent of salt.

bonemeal is offered, most cattle
will consume such amounts of it
Sas are needed to supplement the
feed with either calcium or
phosphorus. Bonemeal supplies
both calcium and phosphorus as
well as small amounts of mag-
nesium and other elements.
Even cows receiving a balanced
S. ration of alfalfa hay, corn sil-
.iL~ -age, and mixed grains such as
have been considered adequate
Sin the past from the mineral
standpoint, use some additional
bonemeal as is shown by the
records presented in Table III.
Dairy cows have taken practi-
Fig. 9.-A good type of box in cally the same amounts of bone-
which to place mineral supple- meal to supplement the same
ments, that cattle may have
free access, and the supple- kinds of rations in successive
mednts be protected from wind years, indicating the similarity
of their needs. Thus their ap-
petites can be considered as a close index of their requirements
when in a good state of mineral storage.

Class of cattle

2-year old steers ....
Dairy cows ..............
Dairy cows ..............
Dairy cows ..............
Mixed stock cattle ..




legume roughages, corn
silage and mixed grain .. 0.659 Florida
legume roughages, corn
silage and mixed grain .. 0.710 Florida
alfalfa hay, sorghum
silages and mixed grain.. 0.86 Oklahoma
low-phosphorus rough-
ages .................................. 3.57 1 Minnesota

Bulletin 231, Mineral Supplements for Cattle

Phosphorus is used in the animal body for many purposes.
Together with calcium, phosphorus makes up a large part of
the ash of bones, blood, and milk. Phosphorus has an important
function in the processes whereby sugars and starches are
eventually changed into butterfat and body fat within the ani-
mal. Every cell of the body
contains a ver y small
amount of phosphorus which
is essential to its life pro-
Many feeds supply phos-
phorus to livestock. The
bran coating and germs of
seeds are the chief sources in
feeds. T h e high-protein
legume and oil seeds and
their milling by-products,
such as peanuts, flax, soy-
beans, cotton seed, and
others, contain much more.
phosphorus than do the
starchy grains such as corn,
cane and kafir, oats, barley,
and other cereals. Although
all roughages are low in
phosphorus content, the
legume roughages such as
alfalfa, soybean, cowpea or
peavine, peanut, beggar-
pevneed, lespedeza anutd covers, Fig. 10.-Hips broken as the result of
weed, lespedeza and covers, weakness, caused by depletion of
generally contain almost the mineral matter on a ration lack-
twice as much of this ele- ing in calcium or lime.
ment as do grasses grown on the same land. Phosphorus content
of seeds changes little, but with phosphorus fertilization the
leaves and stems of the same plants store extra phosphorus when
it is available in the soil.
Cattle sometimes indicate by a depraved appetite that the
i'ation provides much too small amounts of phosphorus' '. Bones,

'Eckles, C. H., Becker, R. B., and Palmer, L. S. A mineral deficiency in
the rations of cattle. Minn. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 229:1-49. 1926.
'Schmidt, H. Feeding bone meal to range cattle on the coastal plains
of Texas. Texas Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 344:1-37. 1926.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

leather, and certain soft woods which contain phosphorus are
among the unusual items which they appear to crave, as is shown
by the cow in Fig. 11 chewing on a bone. Shortage of phos-
phorus can be corrected by a change in the ration to include those
feeds indicated as high in content of this element. Finely ground
"steamed" and "raw" bonemeal, by-products of gelatin manufac-
ture, are concentrated sources of phosphorus. Rock phosphate
has been proved unsatisfactory as a supplement because of the

Fig. 11.-Cattle show depraved appetite in a desire to chew bones, leather,
or certain soft woods when the rations have been deficient in phos-
phorus over an extended period. Bonemeal will correct this condition.
This cow is chewing a bone. (Courtesy of Dr. C. H. Eckles, Minnesota
Agr. Exp. Sta.)

detrimental effect of the excessive fluorine contained in it, as
shown by many investigations with cattle', swine" ", and small
animals at a number of experiment stations.
Prolonged lack of phosphate in the feed affects the appetites
of cattle for a phosphorus supplement. Likewise the adequacy
of the feed and the needs of the animal for phosphorus are im-
portant factors in this regard. In Table III, the amounts of sup-

"Reed, O. E., and Huffman, C. F. The results of a five year mineral
feeding investigation with dairy cattle. Mich. Agr. Exp. Sta. Tech. Bub
105:1-63. 1930.
"Bohstedt, G. The mineral and vitamin requirements of pigs. Ohio Agr.
Exp. Sta. Bul. 395:63-227. 1926.
"Rice, J. B., and Mitchell, H. H. The value of mineral supplements in
swine feeding. Ill. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 250:1-110. 1924.

Bulletin 231, Mineral Supplements for Cattle

plement (bonemeal) consumed by cattle of their own free will
under various feeding conditions, are compared. One large group
of cattle previously had received a low-phosphorus feed over an
extended period. Steers with maintenance and growth to pro-
vide for, require little additional supplement when on a fairly
fertile grass pasture.
Note in Table III that the character of the ration with regards
to phosphorus supply, and the demands of milk production in-
crease the appetites of cattle for phosphorus in the ration. Steers
have only the requirements of growth and maintenance to meet,
and hence need less of the phosphorus-bearing supplement, bone-
Plants appear to need less iodine than do man and animals.
Iodine compounds are comparatively soluble, and consequently
have been depleted in soils of the older geologic regions. Among
these low-iodine areas are the Great Lakes drainage basin, the
upper Mississippi valley and parts of the Rocky Mountain region.
Indications of iodine deficiency in animals are the occurrence
of goiter, especially in new-born pigs, lambs, foals, and calves.
Pigs sometimes are born hairless, though carried full time. The
condition is corrected by use of very small amounts of certain
iodine compounds" "' ". Excessive amounts of iodine are
harmful, and hence in regions where goiter occurs, it is well for
one to obtain further information from a veterinarian or physi-
cian as to the use of this material. In non-goitrous regions, pres-
ent knowledge concerning iodine indicates that it is not needed
as a mineral supplement. A calf with typical goiter is shown in
Fig. 12. Note the swollen appearance of the throat in the re-
gion of the enlarged thyroid gland.
Sulfur is essential to plant growth, but is needed in such small
amounts that it seldom is deficient in the soil. Only on certain
"Welch, Howard. Hairlessness and goitre in new born domestic ani-
mals. Mont. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 119:81-104. 1917.
"Kalkus, J. W. The prevention of goitre (big neck) and hairlessness of
new born domestic animals. Wash. Agr. Exp. Sta. Popular Bul. 117:1-12.
"Kalkus, J. W. A study of goitre and associated conditions in domestic
animals. Wash. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 156:1-58 illus. 1920.
"Hart, E. B., and Steenbock, H. Hairless pigs, the cause and remedy.
Wise. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 297:1-11. 1918.
"Hart, E. B., and Steenbock, H. Minerals for livestock. Wise. Agr. Exp.
Sta. Bul. 350:1-23. 1923.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

soils of igneous origin, such as volcanic ash soils, is it important
as a fertilizer". Feeds contain sufficient sulfur to supply the
needs of animals. It appears that animals utilize sulfur mainly
in the organic form as a sulfur-containing amino acid, and that
flowers of sulfur is not absorbed from the intestinal tract.
Sulfur has medicinal properties in some of its forms. Because
of this fact, some producers of block salt have added about 10

Fig. 12.-Goiter, or enlargement of the thyroid gland in the throat, in
young animals is the chief indication of shortage of iodine in the ra-
tions of their dams, especially during pregnancy. The young animals
from iodine-deficient dams show goiter at birth. (Courtesy of Dr. J.
W. Kalkus, Washington Agr. Exp. Station.)

percent of flowers of sulfur to salt on the erroneous theory that
it would be excreted through the skin in sufficient amounts to
repel attacks of blood-sucking insects. Investigations conducted
with such products at the Ft. Hays, Kansas", and Oklahoma ag-
ricultural experiment stations" with beef cattle, dairy cows, and
young stock indicate its lack of merit for this purpose. Horse
flies, horn flies and stable flies continued to attack treated and
untreated cattle alike. No physical benefit from the use of sul-
fur was noted with healthy cattle. Failure of sulfur taken in-
ternally to repel horn flies is shown in Fig. 13.

"Reimer, F. C., and Tartar, H. V. Sulfur as a fertilizer for alfalfa in
southern Oregon. Oregon Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 163:1-36. 1919.
"Aicher, L. C., Lush, R. H., and Smith, R. C. A year's test of a so-called
"fly salt". Jour. Econ. Ent. 20:593-602. 1927.
"Baer, A. C. Controlling flies that affect dairy cattle. Okla. Agr. Exp.
Sta. Biennial Rpt. 1924-26. p. 29.

Bulletin 281, Mineral Supplements for Cattle

A general cure-all, or "shot gun" mixture of mineral matter
for use under all conditions with cattle and other livestock, is
not recommended. Such a mixture is more expensive and un-
necessary in providing more of some mineral elements than are
needed by animals under
a given feeding practice.
Salt should be given sep-
arately where stock can
obtain it as needed.
Bonemeal is more expen-
sive, and should be fed
in a separate container
sheltered from wind and
rain. Only on so-called
salt sick ranges or pas-
tures is there any need
for iron and copper as
m i n e r a supplements.
When these are needed, .
they may be made acces-
sible in a "salt sick" lick
mixture previously de-
scribed in this publica-
Mineral supplements
do not take the place of
feed and are not advo-
cated for use except
when cattle show a def-
inite need for such ele-
ments to supplement de-
ficiencies in locally- I
grown feeds. Much ~
money has been wasted
Fig. 13.-Sulfur fed with salt fails to pre-
in using ill-advised gen- vent attack by blood-sucking insects. Al-
eral mixtures of min- though this cow had access to a com-
mercial "fly salt", horn flies, stable flies,
erals, purchased at high and horse flies continued to feed as
prices. All of the ele- usual. (Courtesy of Prof. Earl Weaver,
Oklahoma Agr. Exp. Station.)
ments herein mentioned
may be obtained and mixed at home, or fed straight, at a cost
ranging from about $1.00 per hundred pounds for common salt,
up to not over $3.50 per hundred pounds for high quality feeding
bonemeal. The ingredients of 100 pounds of salt sick lick as

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

described, should not exceed $1.75 per hundred pounds in whole-
sale quantities. Copper sulfate costs 30 to 75 cents a pound, de-
pending on purity from other elements.
Some of the ingredients in shot gun mixtures of minerals
have not been found necessary, while the quality or grade of some
others at times has been found questionable. Feeding trials,
especially at the Michigan station, have shown the inadvisability
of their use as well as the fact that even detrimental effects have
been observed in some instances.
The general recommendation is made to use only such sup-
plements as are needed under the specific conditions existing as
to sources and kinds of feed, to meet the requirements of the
animals in question. Efforts have been made to illustrate these
conditions as fully as possible by photographs, as well as by de-
scriptions. Whether or not these conditions occur in any local-
ity will be the deciding factor as to the need for a supplement to
correct them.
The authors wish to acknowledge especially the close co-
operation of many present and former owners of cattle, both in
offering affected animals within their herds for experimental
purposes, and in supplying detailed information as to description
of the typical symptoms, claes of cattle affected, location of
normal and salt sick range areas, and practices in handling range
cattle. A number of veterinarians, tick eradication workers,
Smith-Hughes teachers, and county agents lent their services
in bringing direct contacts with many cattle owners. The full
cooperation of these men facilitated the rapid conduct of the
early phases of this work.

Common salt, either loose or block, should be accessible to
cattle at all times.
Cattle will supplement calcium or phosphorus deficiencies of
rations, if given free access to finely ground "raw" or "steamed"
bonemeal. These are trade names for the by-product after gel-
atin and glue have been extracted from the bones. It is low
in protein, almost odorless, and is more palatable than other
forms of bone.
Rock phosphate is not recommended as a mineral supplement
for livestock, since it has been proved detrimental to cattle,

Bulletin 231, Mineral Supplements for Cattle

swine, and small animals, as compared with commercial grades
of feeding bonemeal. The detrimental effect is caused by fluorine
contained in the raw rock phosphate.
Iodine and sulfur are not needed by livestock in Florida to sup-
plement the home-grown feeds.
On ranges where salt sick occurs, cattle should be given access
to a salt sick lick made up of 100 pounds of common salt, 25
pounds of red oxide of iron, and one pound of finely ground cop-
per sulfate (bluestone), thoroughly mixed. On a few areas, and
with some feeds, copper may not be needed. Copper sulfate is
poisonous, and must be used with care. It should be powdered
finely, and mixed thoroughly into the lick.
General cure-all, or "shot gun", mixtures of mineral matter are
expensive, as compared with the use of specific supplements to
meet the requirements of livestock with any particular ration
produced locally. In some instances, detrimental effects have
been noted from the use of some of these mixtures.
On fertile ranges, cattle in normal health and nutrition may
need only common salt. On less fertile soil areas, supplements
needed will depend directly upon the particular requirements
of the cattle for maintenance, growth, reproduction and milk
production, and upon the deficiencies that occur with forage
crops grown on that type of soil, due to its geologic origin and
subsequent fertilization.
It is often more economical to supply the particular needs of a
group of animals with a supplement, than it is to attempt to fer-
tilize an entire range area, depending upon the elements being
taken up from the soil by the forage crops. Improved pastures
on good soils may be fertilized to advantage when they will re-
main long as permanent pasture areas.

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