Understanding Animal Nutrition
Making sure that your livestock receives the proper level of nutrition is of utmost importance when trying to optimise their performance. Meeting their nutritional requirements ensures that they can grow, breed and be productive.
Important Nutrition Components:
- Carbohydrates: used as an energy source.
- Protein: used for the formation of muscles in the body.
- Fat: used as an easily digestible energy source.
- Minerals: used for bone formation, growth of the animals and aids in reproduction.
- Vitamins: aids in catalytic function and may aid in regulating metabolism.
- Water: aids in temperature regulation, transport and elimination of waste products, and aids in digestion, amongst other functions.
Roughage vs concentrate:
Roughage: Feed like hay, straw and other plant material that have a fiber content of 18% when dry. Animals may find roughages difficult to digest if the fiber content is too high.
Concentrate: Feed like oil cakes that have a fiber content of less than 10% when dry. These feeds are high in nutrients and are easier to digest.
Why water is so important:
In a way, good quality, clean water is almost more important than feed in keeping your animals healthy and productive. Water that is contaminated or substandard could cause health issues for your livestock, and if your herd or flock does not drink enough water every day, their feed intake will drop. This all leads to a drop in production and causes a loss in the long run.
Factors affecting nutritional needs:
The nutrient requirements of animals will differ throughout their lifespans depending on a number of factors like age, production level, genetic factors and growth enhancers, as well as environmental factors such as weather. A growing, pregnant heifer, for instance, will require a higher level of nutrition than a cow that has already reached maturity and stopped growing.
It is important that the balance of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as the provision of clean water is provided to meet the needs of the animals.
For more information, contact you nearest Molatek technical advisor.