A profitable range supplement program is not only dependent upon the nutritional make-up of the supplement, but also the successful delivery of the supplement to the targeted livestock. Supplements can be provided to your herd by either hand feeding or in self-fed forms. Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on the needs and resources of your operation.

Self-fed supplements allow less control over individual intake but requires less time and labor. Intake can be controlled somewhat by the use of limiting ingredients, but such additives are proprietary and can be expensive. The following tips can help you get the most from your self-fed supplement. * Provide enough feeders or blocks for the number of livestock. An inadequate number of feeding stations does not decrease herd supplement intake, it will actually causes an increase due to competition among animals at the feeders. One mineral feeder will usually handle 25 to 40 head.

* Weather losses due to rain, snow or wind can be costly when feeding free-choice supplements. Use covered feeders to protect mineral supplements if possible. If open feeders are used, be sure the free-choice mineral is wind and rain resistant. Particle size and weather coating will reduce wind and rain losses.

* The belief that "if cattle need it they will eat it" is not true. It's important to monitor and chart mineral intake on a weekly basis. Record the amount of supplement fed per pasture, subtract the amount remaining in the feeder, divide by the number of animals and then divide by the number of days to determine daily intake per head.