I top dress my small herds feed twice a day, plus trace mineral blocks....I positive my cattle are happy and healthy. Their morning smiles tell me so...Seems like the fellow giving you advice, needs to do some explaining. Give your animals free choice or top dressed minerals and they will do their best to return the favor....Topside
Block or loose salt never seemed to make any difference to my cattle. However, they always tended to prefer loose minerals over the blocks. Not sure why, but they would consume more loose mineral, maybe different formulations.
* I'm supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one. .*-
Some dairy heifers (not mine) that are kept in our corrals and that aren't getting their minerals like they should are eating our old wood barn up like horses would without adequate mineral supplementation. So yes, cattle should have minerals available 24/7/365 no matter what stage they are at, growth or otherwise.