In Agriculture or farming animal farming plays a key role. The animal farming produces the key protein source of food in our daily meals. There are different types of farm animals. Among then the cattle farming or cows farming and the goat farming lies at the top. When rearing cattle there are some important management practices that we should follow in order to have a better product. Among these management practices cattle feeding is a main topic or practice that we should discuss as it affects greatly on the milk yield as well as on the carcass yield.
What is meant by cattle or cow feed?
Any edible material that contains nutrients is known as feed. Feed must contain all nutrients required by the cattle. Balance feeding is required to achieve maximum efficiency and to avoid wastage. Feed can classify in to two main parts. They are organic materials and inorganic materials.
Different types of cattle feed
There are different types of cattle feed like concentrates and roughages mainly. Through this post we are going to focus on the roughages mainly.
Roughages are edible part of plants. It provides feed for animals and it is rich with fiber. Pasture, hay, silage comes under these roughages.
This can divide into two groups. They are grasses and legumes. These two can be native or cultivated. Pastures are grass or plants which are grown for feeding the grazing animals. Pasture is the important single source of feed for cattle, horses, goats and sheep like ruminants.
These Pastures are providing in the growing season of the cattle. It can produce essential nutrients to animals. The cost for this is very low because there is no requirement of harvesting processing or transporting. For cattle, grasses, bushes, trees and legumes are more suitable.
Hay is made from legumes and grasses, which are at their maximum stage of growth by drying them. Before seed production, legumes and grasses should dry for hay production. In this stage plants give high digestible protein yield and carbohydrates yield from one unit of land. The moisture content of hay is below 18 percent. Because of that there are no molding, spoilage or heating when they are stored. Alfalfa and clovers like legume hays are rich with protein. Timothy and sudan like grasses contain low protein amount. Availability of nitrogen fertilizer and maturity stage are the key factors of protein amount contain in grasses. When the fresh pasture is not available for the requirement, animals are feed from hay which were stored.
Immature plants are packing in an airtight container in making silage. Then it remains to develop lactic and acetic acids from fermentation. Moist feed upright tower silos or trenches which are made in ground are used to store silage. According to the silage type there should be 50-70% of initial moisture concentration. Spoilage and molding can occur due to the low level of moisture. If it contains high amount of moisture, it causes to occur nutrient losses due to the seepage. Also, can produce more acidic and silage may be unpalatable. Ensiled forage can store longer period with less nutrient loss than dry hay. According to the type of forage and curing method, the nutritive value of silage can be varying. Several kinds of forages are used to make silage. Sorghum, leguminous forage, corn and grasses are some of them.
Root crops are not use mostly as animal feed due to their economic value. Cassava, Beets, and surplus potatoes are used as root crops for animal feed. Root crops have high energy. It’s protein and dry matter content is low compare with other feeds.
Straw and hulls
Cattle and other ruminants feed by straw which remain after harvesting wheat, barley and rice crops. Straw is rich with fiber but it is low in protein. Digestibility is low due to the high content of fiber. So, straw should give with other feed which contain protein, minerals and energy. Because they are essential to production as well as growth of animal.
Other fiber sources for ruminant diets are cornstalks, corncobs, cotton seed hulls and rice hulls.