Feeding beef cattle with the right food and keeping with the right nutritional balance is important in growing healthy cows. What to feed beef cattle depends on the breed of the cow, the purpose of raising the cow, and the primary use of the cow. A dairy cow would need a different nutritional intake when compared to a cow raised for its meat. There is a proper feeding regimen for each type of breed. It is vital to know what type of feed to give to what type of cattle. This article presents a guide on the feeding requirements of cattle. Listed below are four ways on what to feed beef cattle.
1. Traditional Food
Grass is one of the traditional foods for omnivorous domestic animals such as cows, goats, and horses. There are still a large percentage of farmers who uses grass as the primary source of their beef cattle. The grass used is pretty much the same grass type growing on untended fields, forests, and grazing fields.
Another traditional food that can be given to beef cattle is hay. Alfalfa hay is their favourite of many breeds and is said to produce good quality meat if given as food.
The problem with this type of food is that they don’t suffice for the protein need of the beef cattle. Protein is necessary to develop more meat on the cattle, as that is actually what is marketed after all. Relying on traditional food alone doesn’t ensure good quality beef.
Grains are another type of food included on the list of what to feed beef cattle. The usual grains given are wheat, soybeans, corn, barley, and sugar beets. These grains can provide the proper protein requirements of the animals, as well as additional energy that cannot be provided by grass alone.
3. Alternative Food (By-product Crops)
The health and growth of beef cattle cannot be dependent on grass and grains alone. The system of cattle farming nowadays is very competitive. To ensure that cows produce high quality beef, alternative food sources are given in the form of processed by-product crops – derived from crops and other agricultural products and are supplement with additional nutrition. These processed foods contain fibres, and high-quality protein. It also has carbohydrates, which can provide for the daily energy requirements of the animals.
Another essential item included on the list of what to feed beef cattle is the minerals. Minerals are essential for the growth of the animal’s body, bone development, reproduction and other body functions. Essentially, there are two types of minerals needed by the body, the macro-minerals and micro-minerals. Macro-minerals are those that are needed in large amount such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Micro-minerals, however, are needed in small amounts, such as zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, and sulphur. Farmers usually give minerals in the form of supplements added to feeds and water. This is to ensure that the animals take the amount of minerals that is required.
Producing high-quality meat is on top of the list of every beef cattle farmer. To achieve this, proper nutritional balance must be given the animals. Included on the list of what to feed beef cattle are grass and grains. But these two alone will not provide the nutritional requirements of a growing cow. By-product crops and minerals are usually added to assure a cow’s good growth and healthy body.