Whether it’s an hour at the gym, a walk with the dog, eight glasses of water, or a well-balanced meal, many people strive to be as healthy as possible every day. Cattle are no different and, at Agri Beef, we keep a close eye on their health.
Nutrition is the main driver of healthy cattle, so we strive as a company to ensure we implement the best feeding regimens possible.
Cattle are ruminants, or in other words, they have a stomach compartment that allows them to digest their food differently than horses, dogs, humans, and many other animals. Inside the rumen are microbes that utilize the nutrients in the feed to synthesize energy and protein for the animal.
Due to the microbe population in the rumen, cattle have the ability to eat things that many other animals cannot digest and utilize. The cattle we have that are not on pasture receive a feed ration which incorporates ingredients that are inedible to humans.
“Cattle turn low-quality forage into high-quality protein that people can consume,” according to Nutritional Consultant John Hepton of Performix Nutrition Systems, an Agri Beef company. Performix custom formulates, mixes, and delivers livestock supplements to producers across the Northwest, for everything from pregnant cows to market ready cattle.
Cattle are able to produce a tasty steak without relying on feed that humans can consume, such as silage and hay. This is the beauty of ruminants.
The nutrient requirements of cattle can vary based on factors such as age, sex, and production stage. Our nutritionists are tasked with determining the appropriate nutrient levels and meeting those requirements using available ingredients to maximize productivity and limit susceptibility to illness.
Experts in the field agree that healthy cattle usually have a better diet than most people. With cattle, we can focus on their specific dietary needs and feed them accordingly.
“We know what they need and we strive to get those nutrients in every bite of feed, every day”, Hepton explains.
Agri Beef works with a consulting nutritionist to determine the nutrient requirements for each individual pen of cattle. Feed samples are taken and sent to a laboratory, where feed component levels are determined. The nutritionists then formulate a ration that will supply the nutrient needs.
Sometimes the feed alone cannot meet these requirements. If this is the case, a supplement that contains the lacking nutrients is created and added to the feed. For instance, many places west of the Rocky Mountains are deficient in selenium and copper, and must be supplemented. Nutritionist and producers must be aware of nutrient levels to allow for optimum performance and production.
While it is important to meet nutrient requirements, it is equally imperative to limit the amount of excess nutrients available to the animal. This keeps feed and supplement costs efficient, as well as reduces nutrient content in the animal’s waste which maintains mineral levels in the soil.
The nutrition of our cattle is a top priority for Agri Beef, as proper nutrition results in healthy cattle and a better product for our customers. Enforcing a complete feeding regimen with the help of experienced nutritionists, is a key factor to sustaining our company standards.