Salt is a staple for all walks of life, with uses ranging from a cooking ingredient to an ice melter. It’s also an important aspect of animal nutrition, and aids with weight gain and milk production. Sodium chloride regulates the heart, blood, and tissue pH, as well as digestion. Additionally, mineralized salt helps maintain fertility and supports basic animal health. With all the salt products we have available, it’s easy to think all salt is the same. However, salt is created in several different ways, which can determine its purity and best uses. The three major methods are solar evaporation, rock salt mining, and vacuum evaporation.
In solar evaporation, salt is collected from shallow ponds. This works best in windy, warm climates where the evaporation rate is higher than the precipitation for long periods of time. After the concentrating pond, the saltwater is moved to the crystallizing pond. Here, there is a flowing brine solution, causing pure salt to crystallize as the water evaporates.
Rock Salt Mining
Rock salt mining uses large equipment in underground mines to collect salt. Original bedded deposits are found in veins. Large domes of salt are formed from Earth’s pressure pushing salt up through bedrock cracks. In the rooms, explosives are used to separate the salt. After being crushed to smaller lumps underground, they are brought to the surface for further sorting and packaging.
The vacuum evaporation method begins with drilling wells and connecting them laterally. Water is pumped through the wells, forcing the brine solution through the well. Next, the brine solution is moved to large vacuum pans, where steam heat causes the solution to boil and evaporate.
We offer salt-based products from both Morton and Compass Minerals. Take a look at the charts below to see which production method is used.
Morton Agricultural Salt
Method of Production
|AGRI-FLO Mixing Salt||Vacuum Evaporation|
|iOFIXT Iodized Mixing Salt||Solar Evaporation or Vacuum Evaporation|
|iOFIXT T-M Plus 4 Salt||Solar Evaporation or Vacuum Evaporation|
|Kiln Dried Feed Mixing Salt||Solar Evaporation|
Compass Minerals Agricultural Salt
Method of Production
|Big 6 TM Bagged||Solar Evaporation or Rock Salt Mining|
|Easy Flo||Vacuum Evaporation|
|Iodized Bagged||Solar Evaporation or Rock Salt Mining|
|KD Mixing||Solar Evaporation|
|Mixing Salt KD Tote||Solar Evaporation|
|TM SE90 American Stock||Solar Evaporation or Rock Salt Mining|
Each of these products provides various nutrients required for livestock. Many of the loose salt products listed above are also available in block form, both from Morton and Compass Minerals. Block form is often preferred for ruminant animals due to its convenience. One concern with blocks is that livestock do not consume enough salt due to their voluntary intake. Bagged salt for mixing into feed is the optimal choice for monogastric livestock and producers that want to be more precise.
Purity is reflected in the appearance of salt. The purer a salt is, the whiter in color it will be. For example, table salt and other food grade salt are of the highest purity and are produced using the vacuum method. Lower purity salts are often preferred for livestock, as it is cheaper to harvest and still offers the necessary nutrients. However, some producers prefer high purity salts as it can offer higher flowability and quality.
No matter the production method or preferred salt form, we have numerous products available. For help identifying the best salt option for you and your customers, contact your Stutsman feed territory sales manager.
“Salt Production and Processing.” Morton Salt, www.mortonsalt.com/salt-production-and-processing/.
American Stockman. The Science of Salt. Compass Minerals.