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Feed & Nutrition

Learn about all aspects of cattle nutrition from harvest and storage to balancing rations with forage, byproducts and supplements.

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It has been forecast that more food must be produced in the next 40 years than in the prior history of the world to meet the needs of the growing world population.

Furthermore, these increases in food production need to occur in an era of agriculture that has greater regulations, reduced available land for production, dramatically increasing input costs and declining animal numbers.

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Back in basic nutrition class, we were introduced to the concept of “first limiting nutrient.”

Take a simplified example: if some calves were eating enough protein, minerals, and vitamins to support 3 pounds of daily gain, but only enough energy to support 2, they would gain . . . 2 pounds a day.

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Annual forages can be used for many purposes in cropping and livestock systems: to extend the grazing season for livestock, as the primary harvested feed, as a rotation crop between alfalfa, as a double crop with cereal grains, as a green manure for nutrients or as a cover crop for erosion or weed control.

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In the first article of this two-part series, we discussed specific mold and mycotoxin issues derived from feedstuffs and also highlighted several symptoms directly correlated with the presence of mycotoxins in cattle.

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Forage should be sampled to determine moisture and forage quality. Knowing forage quality allows allocation of forage to the proper class of livestock and indicates nutrients needed or in excess of requirements.

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Successful ranchers, whether they realize it or not, grow forage as their primary business and use cattle to harvest the crop.

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