The importance of animal nutrition in livestock production
Like humans, livestock animals need a balanced diet containing all the necessary nutrients, fluids, minerals, and vitamins. Proper nutrition gives your animals the vigour to grow, develop, and reproduce, and strong immunity to fight off infections. All these advantages lead to more profitable and sustainable agriculture.
Whether you feed your livestock commercial feeds such as concentrates or in-farm foodstuff, you need to make sure that every ration meets each animal’s essential dietary requirements during its various life stages. For instance, cattle have very different nutritional needs from pigs. And the diet of a lactating cow will also differ from that of a calf.
Remember, you can always boost your feeds’ specific nutritional content by adding feed supplements for livestock. Let’s take an in-depth look at the importance of animal nutrition in livestock production.
Prevent malnutrition, deficiencies, and diseases
There are hundreds of nutrition-related illnesses that affect livestock animals. Most of these illnesses are caused by either malnutrition or minerals and vitamin deficiencies. Deficiencies and malnutrition severely impact animals’ growth, development, and production; some extreme cases can lead to irreversible health conditions, disorders, or even fatalities.
Nutrition-related diseases have actually become more of a problem due to modern farming techniques. Since most animals feed on concentrates specifically designed to maximise yield, they may lack some essential minerals and vitamins.
Enrich your livestock feeds with high-value supplements such as B12 supplements and salt-based additives containing various micro and macro minerals. For instance, B12 in cattle is essential to meet the high energy demands of lactation and growth.
Numerous studies, such as this one published by animal health experts, have found a direct correlation between nutrition and reproductive performance in animals. Feeding patterns, the quality and quantity of rations, and more importantly, the nutritional value of feeds profoundly affect an animal’s reproductive health.
Deficiencies of certain minerals such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and manganese can reduce fertility in cows by increasing the risks of placental retention and mastitis and upsetting the balance of gestation and parturition hormones. Improper nutrition may also lead to poor foetal development, stunted growth after birth, and high calf mortality rates in severe cases.
Nutrition also affects the reproductive vitality of male animals. Bulls, stallions, roosters, and ewes reared for reproduction purposes require special diets to ensure their spawn’s health and viability.
In general, proper nutrition promotes good health in livestock, which results in higher productivity. Healthy, well-fed cattle and poultry will produce more milk, meat, and eggs. Although gross production figures form the backbone of every agribusiness, the yield quantity is only half the story.
Over the last decade or so, consumer preferences for food product quality have changed drastically. There is a growing demand for farm produce cultivated through sustainable methods. The livestock industry is particularly under pressure to follow humane farming practices. In a humane farm, animals should not be subjected to harmful substances or conditions to improve their production.
A rich diet not only improves yields but also enhances the quality of livestock production. You do not need to cut corners or use unscrupulous means to boost your farm produce as long as your animals are fed in the right way.
The importance of proper nutrition in livestock production cannot be overstated. Food determines livestock’s overall health and yield performance. Your farm’s success could very well hinge on how you feed, handle, and care for your animals. Keep in mind that animals are highly sensitive to what they consume and how they consume it. So, make sure to provide your livestock animals with every bit of essential nutrient, in the right quantities, and at the appropriate time.