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Cattle Feed Ingredients and Nutrition 101

Cattle Feed Ingredients and Nutrition 101

Ensuring that your cattle are exposed to proper nutritionally balanced feed is an important aspect of running a successful farm. Nutrition is extremely important in determining the value of beef and dairy products, breeding stock, and choosing feed. As a result, most farmers and feed producers prioritise finding ways to increase nutritional intake and quality of nutrition for cattle.


Factors That Affect Nutrition

There are a variety of factors that can affect nutrition for cows, but AgrifoodSA has compiled a list of 3 factors that need to be considered when evaluating nutrition and feed decisions for all types of cattle:

  1. Growth: Different varieties of cattle have different dietary needs that impact their growth. Nutritional supplements and additives can improve weight, muscle-to-fat ratio, and growth pace.
  2. Lactation: The feed and nutritional supplements of the cattle influences milk production. Nutritive supplements in dairy cattle improve rumen microbial protein production and fibre digestion, resulting in more milk and milk fat production.
  3. Reproduction: During the latter three months of pregnancy, cows often require nutritional tweaks to assist fetal growth. A better diet with enough macro and micronutrients has a significant impact on the health and growth rate of growing fetuses.


What is a Good Mix for Cattle Feed?

Every farmer probably has their own secret mix of feeds which they believe will help them yield the best profit ever year. However, there are some not so secret common and healthy feed options for cattle. These options include:



Concentrates including oats, corn, wheat, barley, grain sorghum, wheat bran, and liquid supplements have a high nutritional value but a low fibre content. They contain a lot of carbs and are generally more expensive than forages. Concentrates may be a fantastic supplement, but be sure to consider the cattle's needs and sizes before providing this feed to avoid digestive problems.

If you're not sure if you're feeding your cattle the finest feed possible, you should look into excellent livestock handling solutions.


Grain Supplement

Grain, especially in beef cattle, can help cattle grow at a fast pace and fatten them up. Many farmers, in fact, feed grains to developing calves in order to save expenses and have livestock available sooner. Grain supplements are also an option for cattle who do not have access to high-quality hay and grazing pastures throughout the winter.



Hay can offer all of the essential nutrients necessary for healthy cattle, but it must be harvested before it gets too dry. Hay must be carefully dried and stored to avoid decay and mould in order to be a healthy feed source for cattle.

There are several hay kinds that are nutritious. Alfalfa hay, for example, contains more calcium and phosphorus than grass hay, although some grass hay contains a lot of protein. Rather than depending only on alfalfa hay, most experts advocate combining it with grass hay. Alfalfa hay is frequently recommended for dairy cattle; however, it may not be suitable for beef cattle due to the risk of bloat. Legume hay is also a nutritious option because it’s high in protein.


Best Dairy Cattle Nutritional Feed

Let’s take this chance to focus on the best feed for dairy cattle. AgrifoodSA recommends Rumensin. Rumensin provides additional energy to cattle, which can enhance milk production efficiency. Rumensin is the first FDA-approved feed supplement for lactating cows that boosts milk production efficiency by delivering more milk per pound of feed while preserving the natural quality of milk.

Rumensin is approved for usage in dairy cows in over 20 countries worldwide. In conjunction with these approvals, the natural quality of milk from Rumensin-fed cattle are preserved throughout lactation and the FDA has decided that milk from Rumensin-fed cows is fit for consumption.


Benefits of Rumensin

  • Improved milk production efficiency during lactation and the dry period.
  • 5:1 average return on your investment.
  • More milk per pound of feed.
  • Meets the US FDA’s stringent standards for effectiveness as well as for animal, environmental, and human-food safety.


AGRIFOODSA recommends contacting Elanco for all your animal feed and nutritional supplement needs. Click here to visit our directory.

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