SDSU Extension, North Dakota State University Extension, Montana State University Extension and the University of Wyoming Extension will be hosting a webinar series on mineral nutrition for the beef cow herd May 17, 19, 24, 26 and 31 from 6-7:30pm MT (7-8:30pm CDT).

The Mineral Nutrition for the Beef Cow Herd Program will be delivered in a hybrid format – the main educational components will be delivered through webinars, with face-to-face farm and ranch visits offered throughout the summer. The May sessions will provide basic knowledge about mineral nutrition, along with tools to help producers successfully monitor mineral consumption and make adjustments to increase consumption.

“This program has evolved, and improvements have been made every year to address the challenges and concerns brought forth by participants,” said Adele Harty, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist. “As a result, this program provides hands-on, individualized assistance to farmers and ranchers that can make a meaningful difference to their operations.”

“Mineral supplements may cost producers between $20 and $50 or more per cow per year,” said Janna Block, NDSU Extension Livestock Systems Specialist. “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 farm or ranch and how to deal with them effectively to increase value and efficiency of mineral supplementation.”

The second part of the program will include 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 Extension personnel receive the results, they will work with the participants to interpret the results and determine what changes could benefit their operations.

Harty says the third component that is critical to the success of the program is the farm and 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,” Harty says.

The series will conclude with educational webinar sessions in the fall, where all of the information that was shared over the previous five months will be brought together in an applied format.

“This program is unique in that it will provide producers an educational workshop where participants will not only learn the importance of mineral supplementation in beef cattle, but they will also receive individual farm and ranch visits that will allow for evaluation of their current mineral program, testing of feed and water samples, and ultimately the development of an effective mineral program for their operation,” said Shelby Rosasco, University of Wyoming Extension Beef Specialist.

The program is open to beef cattle producers in South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Producers from surrounding areas are welcome to participate, however the farm and ranch visit component of the program may be conducted virtually.

“I usually describe mineral programs as insurance policies,” said Megan Van Emon, Montana State University Extension Beef Cattle Specialist. “You probably won’t see deficiency 24 hours after running out, but if a stress event occurs, such as blizzard, drought, etc., and you cut your mineral program due to expense, you will see issues down the road. Minerals aid in stress mitigation, and without them, you can run into problems.”

Registration is $130 per operation – the fee will cover the first forage and water analysis and travel to the operation by Extension professionals.

For more information regarding registration, visit the SDSU Extension Events page.

Started in South Dakota in 2017 and extended to North Dakota in 2018 and Montana and Wyoming in 2021, the “Mineral Nutrition for the Beef Cow Herd” series was initiated due to increased interest in grazing mineral nutrition. To date, the Mineral Nutrition for the Beef Cow Herd series has drawn participants from 103 operations, plus 22 industry and Extension personnel from South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Colorado and Illinois.

South Dakota producers can contact Adele Harty, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist, at or (605) 394-1722. Producers residing in surrounding states can also reach out to their respective state Extension specialist: Janna Block, NDSU Extension Livestock Systems Specialist, at 701-567-4323 or; Shelby Rosasco, University of Wyoming Extension Beef Specialist, at 307-766-2329 or; or Megan Van Emon, Montana State University Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, at 406-874-8286 or

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