Beef Cattle

Red iron oxide and mineral

As nutritionists, we often get asked, why do you add red iron oxide to minerals? Some producers have concerns over what is perceived to be added iron. Let’s take a moment to discuss.



Iron sources

Since iron is naturally found in soils, it works its way into several ingredients used in mineral manufacturing. The iron content of plant- and mineral-based ingredients will vary depending on what part of the country they are sourced from. The mining process can also have some effect on residual iron levels. The bottom line is it’s hard to avoid having iron come in from unexpected places.

How do you combat this? The key is to have a trace mineral profile that is balanced. Iron is not the only antagonist to mineral absorption. If copper, manganese and zinc are not balanced, they can interfere with the each other’s absorption.

Red iron oxide

Not all iron oxides used to color minerals are created equal. Most of the new dyes on the market are synthetic iron oxides. This means that the color pigments have been concentrated, so much so that where manufacturers once used 20 or more pounds/ton, they now use just three pounds/ton. We did the math and determined that adding dye to a mineral adds less than 1,000 ppm iron.

Still, you’re wondering what the advantage of adding color is?

Consistency. Ingredients used in mineral manufacturing can vary in color. Think about a nice pile of limestone rocks. There will be some that are chalk-white, while others could be cream yellow. How about a gravel road? Sure, there’s a lot of brown, but other colors are in the mix too. Depending on where in the US you are, that shade of brown will vary. The point in all of this is that rocks (minerals are rocks) vary in color due to mineral content and the location in which they were mined. In order to have a mineral that has the same great look each and every time, we add color in the form of red iron oxide.

Visit your local ULTRALYX® dealer for more information on available ULTRALYX products or call 1-888-718-3493 to speak to an ULTRALYX representative.