Cattle Feeding, Nutrition, & Marketing

Feed is a key to profitable cattle raising. Cattle need food nutrients for maintenance, growth and production. The animal raiser must formulate feeds based on his animals’ sex, age, weight gain desired and the moisture content of available roughage and feeds.

The feed ration should be adjusted to the requirements for fattening cattle based on the availability of feed materials in the locality. Cattle can be fattened on all rough- age rations or on roughage-concentrate ration. Give good quality grass-legume mixture in the form of pasture herbage. It is best to restrict animal movement at all times, so that it uses less energy and gains weight quickly.

The moisture content of feed is important. There is maximum dry matter intake if the ration has only about 34% moisture content. Cattle becomes fatter during summer eating dry grass than during the rainy season when the animals are allowed to eat large amounts of young, fresh grass. Cattle will consume feed at a rate of about 2.5 percent of its body weight. The animals need the following nutrients:

  • a. Dry matter that satisfies the animal ‘s appetite and promotes good digestion;
  • b. Protein in amounts based on age, sex, body weight and desired productivity;
  • c. Energy from carbohydrates, fats and excess protein;
  • d. Essential minerals like salt, calcium and phosphorus. Salt intake increases the water intake of the animals. The daily intake should be about 0.045 kg per 45.45 kg of body weight;
  • e. Vitamins A, D, and E; and
  • f. Water is a most important nutrient. Its intake by cattle depends on the temperature, humidity, moisture content of the roughage, dry or wet feeding, and salt content of feed nutrients.

To estimate the daily feed requirement, young fatteners consume about 3 per- cent of their body weight in air-dry feed. A fresh grass has about 75% moisture con- tent. Therefore, a 250 kgs. feeder cattle will require 7.5 kgs. of grass with a 12-14% moisture. However, given fresh grass it requires 35 kgs.

Roughage-concentrate ration is the combination of forage or farm by-products and concentrates. Some common concentrates are rice bran, copra meal, ipil-ipil leafmeal and corn by-products, including meat and bone meal and salt. The farm by- products could be utilized as concentrate mixtures and given to cattle at least twice a day.

Recommended Concentrate Mixtures used for Cattle Fattening:

Sample 1:

  • Copra meal 60%
  • Rice bran 39%
  • Salt/powdered Shell 01%
  • Total 100%

Sample 2:

  • Copra meal 50%
  • Rice bran 25%
  • Dried chicken Manure 24%
  • Salt/powdered shell/ground limestone 01 %
  • Total 100%

Utilization of Farm By-Products to Cattle Feed

1. Rice Straw – chopped rice straw can be fed to growing-fattening cattle up to 40% of the total ration. If baled or stacked and adequately protected from weather, rice straw can be used as additional source of energy anytime of the year when feed supply is short. It contains 3-4% protein, 0.04-0.08% phosphorus and 0.20- 0.30% calcium.

2. Corn Cobs (without kernels) – can be coarsely ground and fed to cattle up to 45% of total ration. It contains 45% total digestible nutrients and 3% crude protein. Although containing higher crude fiber, it is more digestible than rice straw.

Marketing of Fattened Cattle

Six months after the date of purchase, fattened cattle should weigh approximately 275 to 325 kilograms and be ready for market.

Properly handle animals during transport to the market to prevent serious injury or even death. See to it that animals are safely loaded. Avoid steep ramps. Do not lift animals bodily into the truck. A gradually sloping ramp with side railings is advisable. To ensure better footing see to it that animals do not slip and fall during transport. Provide adequate rice straw or rice hall beddings. Remove all protruding objects such as nails and splinters from trucks. Also, check for cracked or missing boards that may injure the animals.

Overloading and underloading of trucks cause crippling and bruising of animals. Load them quietly and gently. Pushing or sticking them may cause stress, resulting in weight loss and lower profits. It is better to transport animals in the evening if trucks are not covered.

The market for beef cattle is classified into three groups: consumers, processors and institutional buyers. The last group include hotels, restaurants, burger joints, fastfood chains, cafeterias, supermarkets and hospitals.

source: www.gov.ph, photo from article.wn.com

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  1. By Mike Rothenberger

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