New Year's Resolutions
by Rebecca Christman
2014 is finished and we’ve already started a new year. With the start of each year comes New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like me, your resolutions often focus on eating right and staying healthy.
Nutrition isn’t important just for people, it’s important for livestock as well! On our farm, we make sure that each animal is getting the nutrition it needs at every meal. If you’re trying to eat healthy, you know it takes a little planning to make a nutritious meal. Farmers go to great lengths to plan the most nutritious diet for their animals at every stage in their life.
The crops we harvested this fall are used to feed our cattle during the winter. We want to know exactly what nutrients the cattle are eating, so we send a sample of the feed to a lab for analysis. We receive a report detailing its nutritional value so that we can ensure the cattle get a balanced diet filled with protein, energy, vitamins and minerals.
After the feed is tested, an animal nutritionist then creates a ration for us to feed the cattle. This ration is similar to a recipe for each meal. We weigh each ingredient that will go in to the recipe, mix it up, and then feed it to our livestock. Below, you will find the “recipe” that our cattle are being fed right now.
Bred Cow Ration
Mineral .28 lbs
Corn Silage 10.5 lbs
Straw 2.2 lbs
Alfalfa 4.5 lbs
Grass hay 14.6 lbs
Modified distillers grain 5.0 lbs
Corn 1.2 lbs
Total 38.2 lbs
Our cattle are eating a variety of things, not just corn. It’s a common misconception that cattle and other livestock are fed mass amounts of corn, but as you can see it’s just a small part of their diet. Like humans, an animal’s nutritional needs change with age. The ration we feed will change with the animal’s growth.
Unlike many of us, healthy cattle don’t have “skip days” when it comes to eating. Each meal is filled with the proper nutrients to keep them healthy. Here’s hoping this year you can stick to your diet as well as our livestock stick to theirs.
Listen to this week's Farmer's Daughter radio segment here! Farmers_Daughter_Jan_5th.mp3