Just like feeding your own family, feeding your cattle is both a matter of science and guesswork, with the goal to provide them the most nutritious yet affordable food. Healthy cattle feed can contain a variety of components. Here's a look at the basics:
In order to be good for beef cattle, hay has to be harvested at the right time. Otherwise, it loses nutrients, especially as it dries. Hay can also become moldy if it isn't stored properly. Hay is typically fed during the winter months when the snow and cold prevent foraging on lush green pastures. Alfalfa is high in protein and calcium, making it suitable for animals who need lots of protein. Timothy hay is high in fiber, providing lots of energy for lactating and pregnant dairy cows. It also grows well in colder environments.
Forage And Pasture
Putting your cows out to forage is the best bet. As long as you regularly rotate your crops to ensure soil health, you can expect to provide all of their necessary nutrients. Legume crops add nitrogen to the soil when most other crops deplete the nitrogen. Legumes are also good for preventing soil erosion. Their roots hold the soil down, preventing it from blowing away or running off in a heavy rain. They also help prevent soil compaction and loosen the soil, which allows the water to sink down deep to their roots rather than running off. Agricultural runoff can be hazardous to the environment, especially once it reaches waterways. Alfalfa, red, white, and sweet clover are good forage crops. Grasses like Timothy, Kentucky bluegrass, and various types of fescue are ideal pasture crops.
Corn, soybeans, milo, and wheat are typical grain supplements. These are typically used to lower overall feed cost, provide more food during drought or low production periods, encourage quick growth, and increase their weight to get them ready sooner. However, grain supplements should be just that, a supplement. It's important to not feed them too much supplement or they will become reluctant to forage, which will then result in less diverse nutrients as well as a feed cost loss rather than gain.
This includes thing like oats, barley, sorghum, and wheat bran. It may also come in liquid form. These are pricier than other forages, but they are high in carbohydrates. They are also low in fiber, which can lead to digestive issues if overused.
Contact a company like Ruma-Lic Liquid Feed for more information and assistance.