Ask a farmer who has to manage the day to day feeding of his cattle, how intense cattle feeding can be?

He may have a bunch of stories and suggestions for you. On the other hand, the requirement of cattle feed differs from place to place, the weather, and the purpose you are raising your cattle, among many others. However, hay can just do. But there are so many added factors to it.

What is the exact feeding method? or What kind of feeding can help your cattle best?

Feeding is core to great productivity and profit. If the type of feeding you offer doesn’t provide ample benefits in your cattle’s body, then it will reflect in the end product.

So, set it in your mind, there are a lot of things to imbibe, before you get to know what exactly to feed your cattle. This article will try to simplify the process by letting you know what the feeding actually must consist of an appropriate growth of your cattle.

Let’s begin understanding the best types of feeding you can choose.

cattle feeding

Types of Cattle Feed:

1. Roughage

Roughage are simply the basic consumption any cattle farmer can afford.

They are the usual intakes like the pasture, hay, grass, silage, etc. The cattle would love to forage on these, as they can efficiently process their digestion and bowel movements. Although cattle are mainly ruminants, they already possess well-established digestion, Roughages can add to their benefit.

This kind of feeding is generally also called as grass-fed or pasture-fed. These roughages are high fiber, and minerals necessary for the cattle growth.

When it comes to cows, or other livestock cattle raised for meat, i.e. beef cattle can consume around 3kg of feed for each 100kg bodyweight. It’s important to provide high-quality Lucerne hay to a matured cattle(a cow around 300kg) for 100 days at least.

2. Corns

Corns contain approximately 72% starch although lower in protein They are very high in energy used particularly in the diets of beef cattle. You can choose corn at a low level as an alternative to forage-based diets.

It depends upon your expectation on the cattle that decides the amount of Corn that you want to supply.

Ensure that proper cracking and rolling processes are done while serving corns. this will help in maximum digestibility in the cattle. corns can be served as a whole without going through this process, but to bring more effective results, crushing the corns does help.

3. Major Supplements

There are many alternative supplements that you can include in the cattle diet. Consumption of protein supplements like vegetable plants and mineral supplements like calcium, salt, and phosphorous is the base.

Make sure maximum supplements with nutrients of minerals, protein, and vitamins are included for healthy growth. For Protein, soybeans are the best source when served with cottonseed and linseed.

The inclusion of mineral blocks for the diet has been a noted choice amongst the farmers to maximize the growth in calves.

4. Growth stimulants

This is very much important in beef cattle where the carcass quality or the muscle development must be of high rate for good productivity. Growth stimulants are the ones that ensure feed efficiency.

There’s a lot of controversy regarding the use of microbes in cattle for high yield. The use of growth hormones as supplements can lead to severe issues.

It may include implants that have been proven safe to some limits and are well used by the farmers. Adding Ionophores can improve the digestion of the feed if given as additives. They can also improve feed efficiency and daily gain.

Bovine growth hormone is a naturally formed protein in the cattle. other than that Recombinant Bovine growth hormone is produced inside the cattle using microbes with modified DNA. Although, these can be produced to an extent they can take a toll on the health of the cattle. Therefore flax seeds can suppress any sort of inflammatory condition.

Effects of Feed on Cattle Health:

The nutrition of the feed is the substance to high-quality products. The product can only be known for its quality if the health of the cattle is great. No matter whether it’s beef or milk.

Effect of feed on Cows

A cow’s growth and reproductive development completely rely on the nutritional value in the feed it consumes. If the cow has received the appropriate minerals and the protein requirement, it helps in transferring it to the calves. Therefore, the effect of feed not only lies in the development of the mother but also the growth of the calves.

Providing an adequate proportion of minerals and vitamins before calving can avoid future challenges.

Effect on Calf

If the mother has all the valuable nutrition for it to undergo calving, you could see all the possible results in the calf as well. the colostrum is most important and the basic feeding part in a calf. The quality of the colostrum decides the health of the calves.

If regular vaccination and weaning along with the proper serving of the colostrum can bring great changes in the quality of the calf.

Effect on Bulls

The fertility of the bull is the core of a good result, also in terms of breeding. if the bulls are already good in size and look healthy, the sperm count is mostly supposed to be high.

Their capability can increase by the feed contains like zinc, which ensures fertility, and good functioning of sperms.

Managing the feed and ensuring high nutrition is the key to dairy and beef cattle. It is very important that cattle minerals must be the core feed for high metabolism, milk production, and tissue formation.

cow milking

Effect of feed on the product

1. Fat gaining and marbling

Less marbling means low fat and caloric value. If you are targeting the beef market, then marbling is the key to high-quality beef. It is what ensures good meat with flavor and fat.

Marbling is simply the small red flecks of fat seen in the carcass of a high-quality beef cattle breed.

To ensure marbling, feed of specific qualities must be served. This includes More time in feed loft, maybe around 100days of grazing, increase marbling, using genetics by efficient feeding processes, Increase of oleic acid. etc.

2. Taste

It’s the diet plan that results in the ultimate taste of the beef or the milk. The feed plan serves the output of the cattle. Therefore, the good effect of the feed comes from what you offer t your cattle. For instance, the taste of grass-fed cattle differs from the cattle fed consistently with barley.

In certain cases, the grass-fed beef isn’t the standardized ones. they are mostly lean, unlike the feedlot beef. You can carefully organize grazing which can lead to good marbling as well if don’t want to go for the feedlot.

It is interesting to know that sometimes cattle are served with a mix of beer, which helps bring a different essence and particularly good taste to the ultimate product. However, this technique mostly prevails in Japan and Europe, especially France.

3. Nutritional Quality

Nutritional reasons are one of the aspects that have increased the value of meat amongst general consumers.

The high protein and fat substances are of great nutrition for health. To develop not only a good carcass quality but also to present it in high nutritional value is determined by the grazing or the feed types.

It is believed that beef cattle raising on pasture lands have shown better nutritional qualities than the cattle raised in feedstuffs.As such instances analyzing the reaction of the breeds and observing their growth regularly can help you understand what’s the right feed for your beef cattle breed.

4. Health issues

Mostly, to gain rich quality beef, farmers have to opt to choose hormones and microbes to let the feed efficiency increase. This can be produced with its risks.

One of the situations is E. coli, i.e. Escherichia Coli, which lives in the gut of the many mammals including humans. Their strains can be a route to certain foodborne illnesses.

It is widely observed that grass-fed cattle have lesser E.coli than the grain-fed ones. this happens mainly because feeding grains can affect the pH value of the cattle stomach tract by making them acidic, which is generally neutral.

Another instance of a bacteria named campylobacter has also been discovered in the cattle that are fed in feedlots. And this issue raised very lesser in the pasture-raised cattle.

Farmers also prefer serving bone and meat meals to their cattle for high yield. Those can cause Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease. This reason lies in the consumption of spoiled tissues of other infected mammals.


Make sure that these basic considerations are added to your feeding types once you have your cattle arranged. The above mentioned were some of the basic aspects that can help you refer before feeding the best your cattle needs.

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About the Author

I have been raising farm animals for the past 15 years. I will be sharing my knowledge and what I have learned all these years.

Farm Animals Guide

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