A new dimension has been added to precision feeding.

Until now, precision feeding has focused on protein inputs. With protein, the idea is to look at an animal’s amino acid requirements rather than just crude protein. That, in turn, offers the opportunity to save on soybean meal because the nutritional program is more targeted and precise.

This summer, the Association of American Feed Control Officials accepted a new feed ingredient category involving chelated trace minerals.

Chelated trace minerals present a new precision-feeding opportunity.

They are chemically bound to another substance, such as an amino acid or ligand, which helps them withstand the rigorous journey through the rumen and to the small intestine. Because they are more targeted to the small intestine and more bioavailable, it presents an opportunity to feed trace minerals more precisely and efficiently.

It also offers an opportunity to feed less total mineral volume than would the case with inorganic mineral sources.