Development of Individual Free-Choice Mineral Supplementation Program for Sustainable Grazing Management of Hawaii’s Rangelands

Final report for SW16-023

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2016: $332,601.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2019
Grant Recipient: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Mark Thorne
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Expand All

Project Information

Abstract:

Mineral supplementation is necessary to correct for deficiencies in forages consumed by livestock. Hawaii producers have struggled with mineral issues that include imbalances between calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium, and copper, iron, molybdenum, and sulfur. Because of Hawaii’s highly variable forage environments, that change across very short distances, imbalances in minerals can be markedly different between islands, ranches, and even pastures. While the relative expression of these imbalances varies across the State, in general they have led to an industry-wide depressed calving percentage, increased incidence of disease and other health issues, and reduced animal longevity. Most ranches in Hawaii use commercial pre-mixed mineral products, but these are inadequate at meeting the highly variable mineral issues. Though not widely adopted, individual free-choice mineral supplementation has been around since the 1950s. Practitioners tout its benefits, including increased performance and lower costs. This project investigates the feasibility of individual free-choice mineral supplementation in Hawaii through two separate, year-long trials testing palatability and herd performance. The data will be used to develop a decision support tool that assists in the development of operation-specific mineral programs.

The primary purpose of this project is to: 1) compare the relative palatability and costs of individually supplied minerals (individual free-choice) to commercial pre-mixed mineral widely available in Hawaii; 2) determine if individual free-choice mineral is as effective or better at meeting the nutritional needs of range cattle as a commercial pre-mixed mineral; and 3) provide workshops and field day programming to educate Hawaii livestock producers on the importance of mineral supplementation, and assistance through a project developed decision support tool in developing a mineral supplementation program.

In the first trial, we documented the relative palatability between a commercial pre-mix mineral ration and individual free-choice (IFC) mineral components (Copper sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Monosodium Phosphate, Fish bone meal, and Trace Mineral salt) offered cafeteria-style to range cattle. The trial, in cooperation with five ranches utilizing cow/calf herds grazing different rangeland ecosystems, began in February 2017. Results show that contrary to popular wisdom, the cattle on trial did, at times, express preferences for individually placed mineral components even though the commercial mix was readily available. The combined cost of the individual mineral components was $18/cow/year cheaper than the commercial mix when fed at the recommended rate.

Mineral utilization varied widely across the ranches and consumption was less than the expected rate for the commercial mix and the individual mineral components. Availability of mineral was twice (4 oz./head/day) the recommended rate (2 oz./head/day), but consumption of all mineral (commercial mix + individual free-choice minerals) was only a fraction (16%) of the total provided. Even though the cattle on trial consumed some commercial mineral mix, they also consumed the IFC mineral components in various proportions to their availability.
Spatial and temporal variation in forage quality across the ranches appeared to be the main factors driving selectivity of mineral components among the various herds. Aside for the trace mineral salt blocks provided, selective pressure was highest for the copper sulfate followed by monosodium phosphate and the magnesium sulfate. Consumption of the fish bone meal was variable among the herds with those in pastures of consistently low quality having the highest rate of consumption. The fish bone meal had a tendency to spoil if not consumed within a few weeks. In two herds, selectivity for the individual mineral components was variable with low to no consumption when forage quality was high. However, consumption increased in these herds when forage quality began to decline.

In 2017 the project provided three, 2-day workshops to Hawaii producers across three counties (Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii) May 21-27, 2017. The primary focus of the field day programs was the integration of a planned mineral supplementation program for sustainable beef production. Topics included Soil Diversity and implications for Pasture Management, Mineral Supplementation Programing, Introduction to the RightRisk RSP Tool and Ananlysis of Alternatives, Forage Quality, Cattle Performance, and Carcass Quality, Hawaii Forage Finish Suitability Zones, Leucaena for Beef Production, Sugarcane Forage Selections Trials, Genetic Selection, and Grazing Strategies for Finishing Beef on Grass.

In 2018, this project focused on providing a total of six workshops to Hawaii producers across three counties. A total of six, 2-day programs were offered in partnership with University of Hawaii – College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) Extension faculty. In addition, three online webinars were compiled and posted.

The onsite programs were held at Kauai: Kauai Office Building; Maui: Oskie Rice Memorial Arena and Hawai’i: Mealani Experiment Station. The RightRisk curriculum, including analytics software and presentation material, has been used in hundreds of educational workshops throughout the U.S. over recent years. This project used the RightRisk curriculum in its delivery, including a survey of participating managers using TurningPoint audience response software, a general introduction to risk and risk management, the presentation of the Ag Risk-5 covering the five sources of risk in agriculture, RightRisk Analytics risk management tools, followed by a detailed discussion of the Risk Scenario Planning (RSP) tool and the demonstration of its application via case examples.

In the first workshop series (June 2019), participants were introduced to the RSP tool via an overview of mineral risk management alternatives: convert to commercial mineral mix in herds not previously supplemented and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation. For the second day of programming participants used the Risk Scenario Planning tool and the RightRisk mobile computer lab to evaluate for themselves the two supplementation scenarios (convert to commercial mineral mix and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation).
In the second workshop series (October 2019), participants were introduced to the RSP tool via an overview of mineral management alternatives: convert to commercial mineral mix in herds not previously supplemented and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation. In the second day of programming participants were introduced to the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance program recently made available to Hawaii livestock producers by the USDA-Risk Management Agency (RMA). This presentation included RSP analysis of LRP coverage when applied to an example Hawaii livestock operation.

The software and supporting materials informed participants about risk management and associated topics, such as production management and marketing alternatives. This project focused on delivery of materials in a proven, successful workshop format to Hawaii agricultural producers and interested others in cooperation with CTAHR Extension faculty. In addition to the hands-on environment of the workshop, participants were informed of the opportunity to access RightRisk Analytics tools and education materials via the World Wide Web. A web page specific to this set of programs was also referenced (Hawaii.eRightRisk.com). The workshop materials at the URL and electronic tools also made the program information available to individuals unable to attend the onsite presentation.

A series of online webinars was compiled from the three onsite workshop series offered under this project: May 2017, June 2019, and October 2019. Presentations offered onsite were narrated and compiled for web access in both video and audio-only formats. Slides with text notes were also provided, as was a pre- and post-webinar survey to collect feedback from participants in the online format. Webinar materials were posted to a purpose-built mineral’s webinar web page (Hawaii.eRightRisk.com\minerals).

Two technical guides were compiled to further outline and describe the two alternative mineral supplementation case studies developed under this project:
1. Evaluating the Potential Benefits of Adopting a Commercial Mineral Mix Supplementation Program. #TG-19-12018. December 2019. Hewlett, John P. – University of Wyoming Dr. Mark Thorne – University of Hawaii Dr. Jay Parsons – University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jeffrey Tranel – Colorado State University. and
2. Evaluating the Potential Benefits of Adopting a Free-Choice Mineral Supplementation Program. #TG-19-12013. December 2019. Hewlett, John P. – University of Wyoming Dr. Mark Thorne – University of Hawaii Dr. Jay Parsons – University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jeffrey Tranel – Colorado State University.

These bulletins were posted in PDF format to the mineral’s webinar for access by online participants.

The two onsite program series focused on an introduction to risk and evaluating risk management strategies, followed by practicing those skills through the use of the Risk Scenario Planner analytics tool as the organizing theme for the presentations. In the first series, presentations centered around making producers aware of risk management options, RightRisk materials, and the application of the RSP tool in evaluating the mineral risk management strategies: convert to commercial mineral mix in herds not previously supplemented and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation. A lab section allowed participants the chance to evaluate these two alternatives using the RSP tool via the RightRisk mobile computer lab. In the second series, presentations focused on making producers aware of risk management options, RightRisk materials, and the RSP analytics evaluation of two mineral risk management strategies: convert to commercial mineral mix and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation. The second day of programming introduced participants to the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance program recently made available to Hawaii livestock producers, including RSP analysis of LRP coverage when applied to an example Hawaii livestock operation.

 

Project Objectives:

The specific objectives of the project are:

1. Conduct two trials on five ranches across the State (three ranches Hawaii County, two ranches Maui County) over the first two years of the project (one trial each of year one and two) to: a) quantify the relative palatability of various mineral components when offered free choice compared to a commercial pre-mix mineral ration (Trial 1); and b) evaluate the performance of different herds offered either an individual free-choice minerals or a commercial pre-mix mineral ration (Trial 2).

2. Develop a database of seasonal forage quality and mineral composition profiles for rangelands in Hawaii using the forage mineral composition data (June 2018 – June 2019).

3. Conduct a risk-adjusted partial budget analysis of mineral supplementation alternatives and develop a computer-based mineral supplementation decision support tool (June 2018 – June 2019).

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dwayne Cypriano
  • Greg Friel
  • Glen Fukumoto
  • Jimmy Gomes
  • John Hewlett
  • Jay Parsons
  • Lani Petrie
  • Freddy Rice
  • Matthew Stevenson

Research

Hypothesis:

Hypotheses: The working hypothesis of this project is that range cattle will voluntarily select among various mineral supplementation components to meet nutritional needs and, when offered free-choice as individual components, they will preform as well or better than when the minerals are provided in a commercially derived mix. Additionally, it is hypothesized that the individual free-choice mineral supplementation program will be economically more efficient than feeding a commercial mineral mix.

Materials and methods:

Trial 1: This trial was a replicated palatability trial comparing the relative palatability and consumption of a commercial complete pre-mixed mineral ration (commercial mix) to individual free-choice minerals (IFC) offered cafeteria style. The commercial mineral used was formulated for Hawaii and provided a complete ration of macro- and micro-minerals at a recommended consumption of two oz./cow/day. The IFC mineral program was developed through consultation with a local rancher and project cooperator (FR Cattle Co.). The IFC minerals were comprised of monosodium phosphate to supply phosphorous, magnesium sulfate as a source of magnesium, copper sulfate to provide copper, and fish bone meal (we latte changed to Dolomite due to complications with the fish bone meal) as a source of calcium. Sodium and sulfur were also adequately supplied using these minerals. Potassium is rarely a concern in Hawaii because of our year-round forage production. All IFC mineral components were obtained through several chemical and fertilizer companies in the islands. A trace mineral salt block (TM salt) was provided to round out the IFC program and supply all other micro-nutrients and additional sodium. The IFC minerals and the TM salt were provided in equal proportion to amounts supplied in the commercial mineral at the recommended rate.

The trial was replicated across five separate commercial cow/calf herds, three in Hawaii County, and two in Maui County. Each herd was provided both the commercial and the IFC minerals placed in independent covered mineral boxes. Detailed logs of the date and amount of mineral placed in each box were maintained by each cooperating producer over the course of trial. Forage samples were collected monthly from pastures where trial herds (five) were grazed and analyzed for quality and mineral composition. Herd total annual and monthly consumption, and daily consumption per animal were quantified for both the commercial and IFC minerals to compare relative palatability and detect differences in preferences between minerals with changing forage quality and animal production cycle. Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) were used to determine if observed differences in relative consumption of the commercial and IFC minerals are consistent between herds, changes in forage quality, and among herd performance data.

Table 1. Commercial and individual mineral supplementation components, feed rates, and associated annual per cow costs for Trial 1.

 

Product

Key Mineral Supplement

Percent of Hawaii Mineral Mix

Amount per animal/day (oz.)1

Annual Requirement per Cow (lbs.)

Price per unit (50 lbs.)2

Price per lbs.

Price per Cow/year3

Commercial Mineral Mix

 

All

 

100

 

2

 

45.6

 

$37.93

 

$0.76

 

$34.66

NaH2PO4

P

0.05

0.1

2.28

$116.00

$2.32

$5.29

MgSO4

Mg

0.02

0.04

0.91

$24.50

$0.49

$0.46

CuSO4

Cu

0.003

0.006

0.137

$152.00

$3.04

$0.42

Fish Bone Meal

Ca

0.155

0.31

7.07

$40.50

$0.81

$5.73

Trace Mineral Salt

All Trace

 

1

22.81

$10.60

$0.21

$4.79

Total annual cost of individual mineral supplement program per cow4

$16.69

1Recomended daily intake of commercial pre-mix mineral supplement is 2 oz./cow; estimated daily intake rate of individual supplements as a percent of supplement in the commercial Mineral Mix.
2 Costs valid at the time of the Trial
3Estimated annual cost per cow for each mineral component.
4Total annual cost of individual mineral supplementation program is the sum of the per cow costs of (NaH2PO4, MgSO4, CuSO4, Fish Bone Meal, and Trace Mineral Salt).

Trial 2: This trial was a 2×2 factorial design utilizing paired cow/calf herds from two ranches supplemented with either a commercial mineral or individual free-choice minerals previously described at the recommended rate of 2 oz./cow/day. The paired herds within each ranch were pastured in similar forage environments and were managed (pasture rotations, breeding, calving, weaning, etc.) similarly. Cooperating producers maintained detailed logs recording dates and amounts of each mineral product supplemented over the course of the trial. For each herd (four) total mineral consumed, monthly consumption, and daily consumption per cow was determined. Forage samples were collected monthly in pastures where herds were grazed and analyzed for forage quality and mineral composition. Covariate Analysis of Variance were used to detect differences in herd performance variables between commercial mineral supplemented herds and individual free-choice mineral herds for annual and monthly herd consumption rates, and daily consumption per cow. Forage quality was considered a covariate of mineral consumption.

For both trials the total cost of mineral supplementation was quantified for both the commercial pre-mix and individual free-choice mineral included ranch labor costs, fuel/mileage expenses, delivery/shipping costs, and purchase costs of minerals. These data were utilized in a decision support tool utilizing risk-adjusted partial budget analysis and to inform producers in the educational programs along with results of the trials.

Research results and discussion:

Results Palatability Trial (Trial 1):

  • Spatial and temporal variation in forage quality appeared to be the main factors influencing selectivity of mineral components among the different  herds on trial.
  • Consumption of the commercial mineral mix varied across all ranches and ranged between 10 and 17% of the expected rate of consumption (Table 2).
  • Consumption of the individual mineral components was highly variable across the ranches making it difficult to characterize trends.
    • Monosodium phosphate consumption across the ranches ranged between a high of 48 and a low of 6% of the expected rate.
    • Consumption of magnesium sulfate across the ranches ranged between 30 and 8% of the expected rate.
    • Copper sulfate was consumed at rates ranging between 38 and 8% of the expected levels.
    • Consumption of fish bone meal was low across all ranches ranging between 11% and no consumption (one ranch).
    • Utilization of the trace mineral blocks was somewhat more consistent across the ranches ranging between 25 and 13% of expected consumption rates.

Table 2. Actual and expected mineral consumption of mineral across ranches grouped by geographic location.

Ranch

Observation Period (days)

Avg. Herd Size

Mineral Component

Total Consumption (lbs.)

Consumption per day (lbs./day)

Expected Total Consumption (lbs.)

Consumption Ratio (Actual to Expected)

Hawaii South

272

450

Commercial Min. Mix

1538.5

5.66

15300.0

0.101

     

Monosodium phosphate (NaH2PO4)

370.2

1.36

765.0

0.484

     

Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4)

62.4

0.23

306.0

0.204

     

Copper Sulfate (CuSO4)

17.4

0.06

45.9

0.379

     

Fish Bone Meal

245

0.90

2374.6

0.103

     

Trace Mineral

1000

3.68

7650.0

0.131

Maui South

274

903

Commercial Min. Mix

3199

11.68

30920.9

0.103

     

Monosodium phosphate (NaH2PO4)

97.75

0.36

1546.0

0.063

     

Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4)

47.4

0.17

618.4

0.077

     

Copper Sulfate (CuSO4)

7.8

0.03

92.8

0.084

     

Fish Bone Meal

536.775

1.96

4798.9

0.112

     

Trace Mineral

3950

14.42

15460.5

0.255

Maui Southwest

167

753

Commercial Min. Mix

2700

16.17

15718.9

0.172

     

Monosodium phosphate (NaH2PO4)

125

0.75

785.9

0.159

     

Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4)

93.6

0.56

314.4

0.298

     

Copper Sulfate (CuSO4)

17.48

0.10

47.2

0.371

     

Fish Bone Meal

0

0.00

2439.6

0.000

     

Trace Mineral

1570

9.40

7859.4

0.200

We found that forage iron (FE) concentrations were highly variable and often exceeded 200 ppm, the threshold for antagonism with copper (Cu) absorption in the rumen. Additionally, forage Cu concentrations are also highly variable across the year with deficient levels occurring 20-30% of the time. Secondary Cu deficiency, as a result of high Fe, may occur as much as 6 months out of the year. Our results show that copper sulfate consumption as a component of the IFC was inversely correlated with the forage Cu concentration (R2 = 37.3%, P<0.10). Cattle selectively consumed more copper sulfate when forage copper concentration was low (Figure 1).

Copper Consumption vs forage copper concentration
Figure 1. Monthly forage copper concentration (ppm Copper) vs. copper sulfate (CS) consumption. Beef cattle consumption of copper sulfate voluntarily increased as a forage copper concentration decreased.

 

The mineral palatability trial showed that range cattle will voluntarily select among a variety of individual mineral components depending on their needs, or deficiencies in the forage available to them. Selectivity of individual mineral components during this trial occurred with a commercial mineral mix readily available. Further, consumption patterns observed in this study imply that mineral consumption is not driven by the availability or concentration of salt in the mix, but by physiological need. While the commercial mix was also consumed, cattle showed a preference for consuming first the Copper Sulfate, and Monosodium Phosphate, followed by Magnesium Sulfate. The cost of the individual free-choice mineral components combined (Copper Sulfate, Monosodium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Fish bone meal, and TM salt) cost about $18/cow/year less than the commercial mineral mix when consumed at the recommended rate.

Results Two-herd Comparison Trial (Trial 2):

• Consumption of the commercial mineral mix and the IFC mineral components was not consistent across ranches (Table 3). Intake of the commercial mix (6,350 lbs.) was greater than the IFC mineral (4,122.6 lbs.) on the Big Island ranch, while IFC intake (12,217 lbs.) on the Maui ranch was greater than the commercial mix (5,200 lbs.).
• Consumption of the commercial mix and IFC minerals was considerably less than the expected intake rate. The BI commercial mix herd consumed on 28% of the expected while the IFC herd consumed just 21% of the expected. Conversely, the Maui commercial herd consumed just 15% of the expected while the IFC herd consumed 43%.
• Adjusting for a per head basis intake of important minerals like copper, phosphorous, magnesium, and calcium were generally hire in the IFC herds than in the commercial mix herds (Table 4). Consumption of Magnesium sulfate for the BI ranch IFC herd was nil. This was likely due to the long-standing practice of that ranch to put magnesium salts in the water troughs when working their cattle in the corrals. They felt that this practice calmed the animals and made them easier to work. Nevertheless, this likely had an impact on the herds willingness to consume Magnesium sulfate in the pastures.
• Total annual copper intake was greater in the IFC herds than in the commercial herds (Figure 2). Importantly, the BI IFC herd had greater intake of copper than the commercial herd even though the commercial herd consumed more total mineral. This would suggest that the commercial mineral when not consumed in the recommended rate will not supply adequate copper. It appears that the IFC mineral program is more efficient in delivering copper to the beef herd.
• Except for magnesium and calcium in the BI ranch herds, similar results were found for the other nutrients (Figure 3).
• As with the palatability trail, changes in mineral consumption rates of the IFC mineral components were generally associated with changes in the forage quality. This was not however, observed for the commercial mix.
• There were no associated differences between the commercial mix and IFC herds in animal performance. The herds maintained similar calving percentages, wean weights, and number of calves weaned. Given the low cost of the IFC mineral program and the fact that it appears to provide mineral to cattle more efficiently, it is a viable low-cost option for Hawaii beef cattle producers.

Table 3. Actual (total, per day, and total daily per Animal Unit) and expected intake of a commercial mineral mix (HMM) and individual free-choice (IFC) minerals of monosodium phosphate (MP), Magnesium sulfate (MS), Copper sulfate (CS), Dolomite (Ca source) and trace mineral salt (TM salt) fed to paired herds on two ranches in Hawaii.

Ranch       Program  Days on Trial Avg. Herd size Mineral Total Intake (lbs.) Intake per day (lbs./day) 1TDC/AU (lbs./day/AU) Expected Total Intake (lbs.) A:E Ratio
BI Ranch C Mix Herd 476 375 HMM 6350 13.34 0.0360 22312.5 0.28
  IFC Herd 476 450 MP 1065 2.237 0.0050 1338.8 0.80
  IFC Herd     MS 0 0.000 0.0000 535.5 0.00
  IFC Herd     CS 32.6 0.068 0.0002 80.3 0.41
  IFC Herd     Dolomite 475 0.998 0.0022 4155.5 0.11
  IFC Herd     TM salt 2550 5.357 0.0119 13387.5 0.19
        IFC Total 4122.6 8.6661 0.0192 19497.6 0.21
Maui Ranch C Mix Herd 371 732 HMM 5200 14.020 0.0190 33946.5 0.15
  IFC Herd 371 840 MP 1772.85 4.779 0.0057 1949.6 0.91
  IFC Herd     MS 1176 3.170 0.0038 779.8 1.51
  IFC Herd     CS 79.91 0.215 0.0003 117.0 0.68
  IFC Herd     Dolomite 2289 6.170 0.0073 6051.6 0.38
  IFC Herd     TM Salt 6900 18.598 0.0221 19496.1 0.35
        IFC Total 12217.8 32.932 0.0392 28394.0 0.43

1Total Daily Consumption per Animal Unit.

Table 4. Annual consumption of total, copper (Cu), phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca) and trace mineral salt for the commercial and IFC herds of both ranches. Per head consumption of Cu, P, Mg, and Ca in the commercial mineral mix is calculated based on the concentration of that mineral in the mix.

Ranch Program Herd Size Total Min/head Total Cu Total P Total Mg Total Ca Total TM salt
BI Ranch C Mix 375 16.93 0.05 0.85 0.34 2.62 13.07
BI Ranch IFC Min 470 8.77 0.07 2.27 0.00 1.01 5.43
Maui Ranch C Mix 732 7.10 0.02 0.36 0.14 1.10 5.48
Maui Ranch IFC Min 840 14.55 0.10 2.11 1.40 2.73 8.21

 

copper consumption by ranch and program
Figure 2. Total annual copper intake for the commercial vs. IFC mineral programs by ranch. Different letters within ranch denote statistically different means. Total copper intake by the commercial mix herds was calculated based on the concentration of copper sulfate in the mix.
Mineral consumption by programa and ranch
Figure 3. Total annual mineral intake for phosphorous (P), magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) for the commercial and IFC mineral herds by ranch. Total intake of P, Mg, and Ca in the commercial mix herds was calculated based on the concentration of those minerals in the mix.

Research conclusions:

Impacts

The results of this study have shown the feasibility of using an individual free-choice mineral program for beef cattle operations. Range cattle will voluntarily and selectively consume individual mineral components according to their physiologic needs even when a commercial complete mix is present. We found that cattle do not consume the commercial mix minerals at the recommended rate and for certain minerals, like copper, phosphorus, and magnesium this could put them at risk for mineral deficiencies. The cattle on trial in this study consumed more copper sulfate through the IFC program than in the commercial mix, even in the one case where the commercial herd consume greater total mineral than the IFC herd. This suggests that the commercial mineral mix is not efficient in delivering copper to the herd. This is an important consideration in Hawaii where our soils are high in Fe that is readily taken up by our forage grasses.

These results have spurred a number of ranches to evaluate their mineral supplementation and adopt an IFC mineral program. We have also drafted and extension publication addressing the issue of copper supplementation in Hawaii based on the results of this study. Other extension publications are also planned. The data from these trials were also provided in presentations to producers at the several field day programs we gave and included in the webinars conducted and recorded.

Accomplishments

Two year-long trials were conducted to test the feasibility of an Individual free-choice mineral supplementation program for beef cattle operations in Hawaii. The results show that an IFC program is a low-cost alternative for Hawaii producers that may deliver needed mineral nutrition to cattle than a traditional mineral mix. These results have been incorporated into presentations, webinars, and extension publications for dissemination to Hawaii beef cattle producers.

Participation Summary
5 Farmers participating in research

Education

Educational approach:

The educational program will begin in year one with three workshops (one per island of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai) to teach producers about the importance of mineral supplementation, common deficiencies and interactions between minerals, and introduce the concept of an individual free-choice mineral program. Participants will be introduced to the RightRisk RSP tool and will be lead in an analysis of their mineral supplementation program against various alternatives. The workshop will also include field visits to cooperating producer operations to view and discuss the trials and cooperating producer experiences. The goal for this first workshop will be to motivate producers to take steps to evaluate their current mineral program and make appropriate changes.

In year two a second workshop series (one per island of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai) will be conducted presenting results from the first year trials. In this workshop we will evaluate participants’ current mineral programs, make recommendations, and assess willingness to adopt new strategies for feeding minerals including utilizing an individual free-choice mineral program. Participants will have further exposure to the RightRisk RSP tool utilizing data from the first year trial to assess alternative mineral supplementation programs against their current program. Field visits to cooperating producer operations will allow participants to observe and discuss experiences and observations during the first year trials with project team and cooperating producers. The goal of the second workshop will be to facilitate and support adoption of better mineral supplementation programs.

Between years two and three workshops we will develop and offer three 1-hour webinars with various topics focused around mineral supplementation, cow/calf production cycles, grazing management, and local marketing options. Each webinar will feature local, cooperating producers discussing their experiences with mineral supplementation and herd performance; Extension Specialist/agents to discuss the mineral supplementation decisions across the cow/calf production cycle and pasture conditions; and RightRisk cooperators to discuss economic and risk management aspects of mineral supplementation programs. The goal of these webinars to engage and encourage participants to make sound economic decisions in mineral supplementation for their herds.

A third workshop series (one per island of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai) will be provided in year three. This workshop series will present the final results of the mineral feeding trials, introduce and teach the use of the mineral supplementation decision support tool, introduce participants to the use of the Seasonal Forage Quality and Mineral Composition Profile Database, and allow participants to work with the RightRisk RSP tool to analyze different mineral supplement decisions using the complete set of data. Participants will also visit cooperative producer operations to observe and discuss observations and experiences with project team members and cooperative producers. The goal of this final workshop series is to provide further support and decision tools to participants who have made mineral supplementation changes, and additional information and knowledge for those who have not yet made adjustments (if needed). In this final workshop participants who have made changes will have the opportunity to evaluate the efficacy of those changes against their old mineral programs.

Each workshop will feature discussion and presentations from University of Hawaii-Manoa Extension Specialists and agents, cooperating producers, and RightRisk cooperators. For each workshop the project team will develop appropriate learning materials and handouts for participants (presentation with handouts, worksheets, and additional reading materials). These materials will also be uploaded to the University of Hawaii-Manoa Hawaii Rangelands website (http://globalrangelands.org/hawaii/) for public access.
Participants in each workshop will be polled pre- and post-program for knowledge and views on mineral supplementation. In addition, the post-program evaluation will question participant’s level of commitment to adopt new knowledge and practices, potential roadblocks to adoption, and assessment of program materials, presentations, and presenters.

The results of the trials will be presented to state level professionals through extension publications, website, and industry meetings. Additionally, the results of this project will be presented at national professional meetings (Society for Range Management and Animal Science meetings) and presented in peer-reviewed professional publications.

Educational & Outreach Activities

35 Consultations
26 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
10 On-farm demonstrations
1 Online trainings
9 Tours
21 Webinars / talks / presentations
9 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

124 Farmers
21 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

The project provided three, 2-day workshops to Hawaii producers across three counties (Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii) May 21-27, 2017. The primary focus of the field day programs was the integration of a planned mineral supplementation program for sustainable beef production. Topics included Soil Diversity and implications for Pasture Management, Mineral Supplementation Programing, Introduction to the RightRisk RSP Tool and Ananlysis of Alternatives, Forage Quality, Cattle Performance, and Carcass Quality, Hawaii Forage Finish Suitability Zones, Leucaena for Beef Production, Sugarcane Forage Selections Trials, Genetic Selection, and Grazing Strategies for Finishing Beef on Grass.

The RightRisk curriculum, including analytics software and presentation material, that has been used in several hundred educational workshops throughout the U.S. over recent years. The project used the RightRisk curriculum in its delivery, including a survey of participating managers on their mineral supplementation practices using TurningPoint audience response software, a general introduction to risk and risk management, the presentation of the Ag Risk-5 covering the five sources of risk in agriculture, RightRisk Analytics risk management tools, followed by a detailed discussion of the Risk Scenario Planning (RSP) tool and the demonstration of its application via a case example. Participants had the opportunity via the RightRisk mobile computer lab to experience using the tool first hand to evaluate the management alternative of providing free-choice mineral supplementation. For the second day of programming participants used the Risk Scenario Planning tool and the RightRisk mobile computer lab to evaluate the management alternative of grass-finishing beef cattle on owned pasture.

The software and supporting materials informed participants about risk management and associated topics, such as production management and marketing alternatives. This project focused on delivery of materials in a proven, successful workshop format to Hawaii agricultural producers and interested others in cooperation with CTAHR Extension faculty. In addition to the hands-on environment of the workshop, participants were informed of the opportunity to access RightRisk Analytics tools and education materials via the World Wide Web. A web page specific to this set of programs was also referenced (www.Hawaii.eRightRisk.com). The workshop materials at the URL and electronic tools also made the program information available to individuals unable to attend the onsite presentation.

In 2018, this project focused on providing a total of six workshops to Hawaii producers across three counties. A total of six, 2-day programs were offered in partnership with University of Hawaii – College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) Extension faculty. In addition, three online webinars were compiled and posted.

The onsite programs were held at Kauai: Kauai Office Building; Maui: Oskie Rice Memorial Arena and Hawai’i: Mealani Experiment Station. The RightRisk curriculum, including analytics software and presentation material, has been used in hundreds of educational workshops throughout the U.S. over recent years. This project used the RightRisk curriculum in its delivery, including a survey of participating managers using TurningPoint audience response software, a general introduction to risk and risk management, the presentation of the Ag Risk-5 covering the five sources of risk in agriculture, RightRisk Analytics risk management tools, followed by a detailed discussion of the Risk Scenario Planning (RSP) tool and the demonstration of its application via case examples.

In the first workshop series (June 2019), participants were introduced to the RSP tool via an overview of mineral risk management alternatives: convert to commercial mineral mix in herds not previously supplemented and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation. For the second day of programming participants used the Risk Scenario Planning tool and the RightRisk mobile computer lab to evaluate for themselves the two supplementation scenarios (convert to commercial mineral mix and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation).
In the second workshop series (October 2019), participants were introduced to the RSP tool via an overview of mineral management alternatives: convert to commercial mineral mix in herds not previously supplemented and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation. In the second day of programming participants were introduced to the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance program recently made available to Hawaii livestock producers by the USDA-Risk Management Agency (RMA). This presentation included RSP analysis of LRP coverage when applied to an example Hawaii livestock operation.

The software and supporting materials informed participants about risk management and associated topics, such as production management and marketing alternatives. This project focused on delivery of materials in a proven, successful workshop format to Hawaii agricultural producers and interested others in cooperation with CTAHR Extension faculty. In addition to the hands-on environment of the workshop, participants were informed of the opportunity to access RightRisk Analytics tools and education materials via the World Wide Web. A web page specific to this set of programs was also referenced (Hawaii.eRightRisk.com). The workshop materials at the URL and electronic tools also made the program information available to individuals unable to attend the onsite presentation.

A series of online webinars was compiled from the three onsite workshop series offered under this project: May 2017, June 2019, and October 2019. Presentations offered onsite were narrated and compiled for web access in both video and audio-only formats. Slides with text notes were also provided, as was a pre- and post-webinar survey to collect feedback from participants in the online format. Webinar materials were posted to a purpose-built mineral’s webinar web page (Hawaii.eRightRisk.com\minerals).

Two technical guides were compiled to further outline and describe the two alternative mineral supplementation case studies developed under this project:
1. Evaluating the Potential Benefits of Adopting a Commercial Mineral Mix Supplementation Program. #TG-19-12018. December 2019. Hewlett, John P. – University of Wyoming Dr. Mark Thorne – University of Hawaii Dr. Jay Parsons – University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jeffrey Tranel – Colorado State University. and
2. Evaluating the Potential Benefits of Adopting a Free-Choice Mineral Supplementation Program. #TG-19-12013. December 2019. Hewlett, John P. – University of Wyoming Dr. Mark Thorne – University of Hawaii Dr. Jay Parsons – University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jeffrey Tranel – Colorado State University.

These bulletins were posted in PDF format to the mineral’s webinar for access by online participants.

The two onsite program series focused on an introduction to risk and evaluating risk management strategies, followed by practicing those skills through the use of the Risk Scenario Planner analytics tool as the organizing theme for the presentations. In the first series, presentations centered around making producers aware of risk management options, RightRisk materials, and the application of the RSP tool in evaluating the mineral risk management strategies: convert to commercial mineral mix in herds not previously supplemented and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation. A lab section allowed participants the chance to evaluate these two alternatives using the RSP tool via the RightRisk mobile computer lab. In the second series, presentations focused on making producers aware of risk management options, RightRisk materials, and the RSP analytics evaluation of two mineral risk management strategies: convert to commercial mineral mix and convert to free-choice mineral supplementation. The second day of programming introduced participants to the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance program recently made available to Hawaii livestock producers, including RSP analysis of LRP coverage when applied to an example Hawaii livestock operation.

Learning Outcomes

115 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
Key areas taught:
  • Beef cattle nutrtion
  • Grazing Management Stratagies and Planning
  • Mineral Supplementation Stratagies
  • Risk in commercial agriculture
  • Risk management strategies
  • Risk Scenario Planning
Key changes:
  • Beef catte nutrition

  • Grazing Management Stratgies and Planning

  • Mineral supplementation stratgies

  • Risk in cmmercial agriculture

  • Risk management strategies

  • Risk Scenario planning

Project Outcomes

15 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
36 Farmers intend/plan to change their practice(s)
3 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

The results of this project show the feasibility of using a low-cost individual free-choice mineral supplementation program. It efficiently delivers need mineral nutrition to beef cattle minimizing waste. Producers that adopt this program will save money and waste less mineral. These savings will increase their overall economic sustainability.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.