Supplement feeding solutions are available for livestock fed on pasture or a mixed feed ration. These solutions can be tailored for different classes of cattle and sheep.
There are many times of the year when pasture does not meet the nutritional requirements of livestock. The overall objective of supplement feeding is to maximise the return on a producer’s livestock in terms of weight gain, milk production and/or conception rates.
As pasture matures and the quality declines, livestock intake of pasture declines AND the energy and protein content of the pasture also declines.
This in turn leads to a reduction in livestock performance.
Although there may be sufficient dry feed, this feed cannot be effectively utilised without an adequate supplementary source of protein and energy.
Cattle and sheep are ruminants with complex digestive systems that enable them to utilise high-fibre diets such as grass. There are three main
nutritional components required for normal ruminant production: Energy, Protein and Vitamins/Minerals.
Animals must receive sufficient amounts of all essential nutrients and water to remain healthy, to grow and to reproduce. If your pasture cannot provide these requirements year long, supplement feeding may be necessary.
With an understanding of pasture quality and the nutritional requirements of livestock it is possible to make an informed decision about the supplement feeding program that is likely to keep production positive. Without supplementation, livestock production is likely to fall below maintenance levels in the dry season, resulting in negative production.
For the best results, producers should start supplementing before the period of negative production starts.
In feedlots supplementation is required to balance protein, add trace and macro minerals and add medications to livestock feed rations.
The supplementation in feedmills is mostly for non-nutritional reasons such as dust suppression, pellet binding and friction reduction in plant equipment.