Livestock needs a balanced diet containing all nutrients, just like humans. With proper nutrition, your animals will have the vigor to grow, have strong immunity, and reproduce. These factors will play a significant role in the profitability of your farm. You will practice more sustainable agriculture, which is essential in realizing food security.
It would be best to ensure that each ration meets your animal’s dietary requirements during its life stages. Whether using in-farm foodstuff or commercial feeds, you must meet the requirements. For commercial feeds, the nutritional value must appear on the product’s label, while in-farm products should be tested to ascertain they meet nutritional requirements. Typically, animals auto-regulate and they stop eating once they feel satisfied. If the nutrient level is low, the animals might suffer malnutrition and have low production levels. This article unpacks how nutrition plays a role in livestock production.
Prevents Deficiencies, Malnutrition, and Diseases
Getting your animal nutrition right is a great way to prevent illnesses that are nutrition related. The illnesses are a result of malnutrition and deficiency of vital macronutrients. These conditions affect the development, growth, and production of your livestock. In some extreme cases, the animals will suffer from disorders, irreversible conditions, and fatalities.
There has been an increase in nutrition-related diseases over recent years due to modern farming techniques. Most farmers give concentrates to their animals to maximize yield, and they lack vital vitamins and minerals. Giving your animals feeds with high-value supplements such as B-12 and salt-based additives with various macro and micro minerals would be best. For example, B12in cows is crucial to meet the high energy demands of lactation and development.
Proper nutrition in livestock promotes good health, which is vital if you want to achieve high productivity levels. Cattle that are healthy and well-fed will typically produce more meat and milk.
It is worth noting that as much as gross production figures are essential, the yield quantity is only part of it when it comes to agriculture. The preferences of consumers have significantly shifted over the last decade. There has been a growing demand for farm produce grown using sustainable methods. For instance, different groups have pressured the livestock industry to follow humane practices. There has been a fight against practices that subject animals to harmful products or conditions to improve productivity.
You will improve the yield on your farm and enhance the quality of livestock production when you give your animals a rich diet. When your animals are healthy and productive, there will be no need to cut corners or use unscrupulous methods to increase the produce from your farm.
Many studies have shown a correlation between animal nutrition and reproductive performance. The nutritional value of feeds, feeding patterns, and the quantity and quality of rations will significantly affect the reproductive health of animals.
Some minerals such as zinc, calcium, selenium, manganese, and magnesium are essential in cow fertility. Suppose your animals lack these minerals. They face the risk of mastitis, placental retention, and upset gestation balance. Improper nutrition can also lead to poor development of the fetus, stunted growth in born calves, and high mortality levels.
Nutrition also affects the vitality of male livestock. You must be keen about their diet if you keep stallions, bulls, or ewes for production purposes. A great diet will ensure the males are healthy and viable for reproduction.
Improves the Temperament of Animals
You understand the feeling of getting hungry or not finding anything appealing to eat. You usually feel discontented and grumpy for no reason. In some cases, you will find yourself snapping at people you know. The same case applies to animals. Animals that are hungry or not having the best nutrition are easily agitated.
Failure to give your animals carbs, proteins, and healthy fats will cause their temperament to soar. You will have difficulty milking your cows, chickens will get into constant fights, and the animals will make a lot of noise. It will also be difficult for you to spend time at the farm due to all the commotion.
You need to understand that every animal has different nutrition requirements. Cows will require carbs to produce milk without draining body fat, while chickens need carbs to properly formed eggs. If you are not paying attention to your animal’s nutritional requirements, they feel a physical difference, affecting their overall temperament. Animals with bad temperaments will tend to be less productive and more hostile.
Benefits Your Farmland
Your animals will thrive when you meet their nutritional requirements, and so will your farmland. For instance, look at a cow’s diet: they graze for an average of 6 to 11 hours daily, depleting grass in your fields. When you rotate their pastures, you can restore the nutrition lacking in the grass by practicing regenerating farming. This practice is a sustainable approach to maintaining a small farm.
Regenerative agriculture can produce huge profits in a few years as more farmers utilize sustainable business practices. You typically get more nutrient-focused and all-natural feed sources when you tailor nutrition to the livestock types you raise. You can only go for mass-produced food, often filled with chemicals, for quick profits. Also, regenerative agriculture reduces chemicals that decay into your soil, preventing chemical runoff that negatively impacts the environment. So, you can stop excess pollution by focusing on your animals’ nutritional requirements.
Enhances Egg Production
Most farmers start with Cornish chickens since they are easy to rear. They are independent, but you can increase egg production with proper nutrition. Give your chicken foods high in calcium so they do not take long to lay eggs. You will collect more eggs for consumption or hatch chicks.
You cannot overstate the importance of proper nutrition in livestock production. It is the food that animals consume that determines their yield and overall health. The success of your farm is highly affected by how you feed, handle, and care for your livestock. It would help if you kept in mind that animals are sensitive to what they eat. Always ensure that you provide your livestock with the proper nutrients at the right time and quality.