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If you wondering how to make your own cattle feed, you may have felt the pinch of expensive formulated feeds. Like many cattle keepers on the East Coast of Georgia (Savanna), I can authoritatively say that making your own cattle feed will save you a significant amount of money.

Our small group of about 7 farmers formulates our feeds together and we’ve been doing that for the last three years. The demand for cattle feed remains stiff, especially on large scale. Whether you are raising a heifer or bull for milk or beef purposes, quality cattle feed is crucial to their well-being and survival. 

Did you know that there are approximately 250 recognized cattle breeds all over the world? Yeah, and you are perhaps familiar with 16 cattle breeds. In addition, over 80 cattle breeds of the total are readily available to manufacturers in the United States including Aberdeen Angus, Africander, Beefmaster, and more. Genetically, cattle are classified into Bos Indicus (non-humped) and Bos Taurus (non-humped).

In this article, we shall look into how you can make your own feed for cattle among other things. The best thing about learning this art is that you can make it for your own use or commercial with the right equipment and resources.

History

The history of industrial manufacture and sale of animal feeds dates back to the 1800s. It was during this time when the impact of balanced diets and nutrients in both human and animal regimes was gaining significance globally. Purina, established in 1882, was the first company to produce corn gluten feed and continues to today.

Types of Feeds

Currently, there are 3 major types of feed used by farmers everywhere globally and all have their unique usages and advantages, including compound feed, fodder, and forage. Let us look at these types of feeds briefly:

  • Compound feed

Also known as feedstuffs, this type of feed is commonly used among many commercial cattle farmers and features a blend of several additives and raw materials specifically crafted for certain cattle. Typically, compound feeds are produced as crumbles or pellets and are often completed with additional minerals and vitamins.

Globally, the amount of compound feeds produced yearly totals more than 600 million tons.

  • Fodder

Primarily used to feed cattle and other domesticated animals like horses, goats, pigs, and goats, fodder usually consists of plant matter such as grains, hay, and straw. Fodder features harvesting residue and can include bone meal and meat at times. The last two ingredients have been often pointed the finger at for the spread of mad cow malady leading to its outlaw in most countries.

  • Forage

Literally, forage refers to plant matter that is planted in a controlled space so you can graze your cattle on it. This contains edible plants such as alfalfa, legumes, corn, grasses, and oats. It is the opposite of fodder.

How to Make Your Own Cattle Feed: the Process

Like humans and other living beings that thrive on appropriate regime and nutrition, cattle are no exemption. As a rule of thumb, the best cattle feed should consist of the appropriate ration for energy, minerals, water, vitamins, and protein.

The feed structure must support stomach health and should be appropriate depending on the cattle stage of development. The most common ingredients you need to make your own cattle feed include protein cakes/meals, vitamins, minerals, grains, sunnies, brans, and agro-industrial by-products.

First, let us see what apparatus:

Equipment for Making Your Own Cattle Feed:

  1. Containers: for storing auxiliary and raw materials
  2. Grinder: Feed hammer mill for crushing raw materials into powder
  3. Pellet mixing machine: Feed pellet mixer to mix ground raw materials to boost ingredient consistency
  4. Feed pelletizer: Used to produce cattle feed pellets
  5. Feed pellet cooler: Cools the hot and damp feed pellets (can be sundried if is small scale)
  6. Grading machine: Screens and grades cattle feed pellets before packaging
  7. Weighing & Packaging machine: Weighs and packages feed pellets in the consistency

Other additional equipment includes a lifter and conveyors.

We shall divide this section into two parts, including feed for beef and dairy to cater to different farmers:

Dairy Cattle Feed Raw Materials

  1. Cereals: Maize, sorghum, barley, wheat, rye, triticale, and oat.
  2. Legume & Oleaginous crop seeds: Protein pea, broad & field beans; sunflower, flax, and soy.
  3. Dried beet pulp
  4. Forage: Flours of accepted forage concentrates
  5. Appetizers: Molasses (3%) and carob-bean (3%)

Beef Cattle Feed Raw Materials

Beef cattle can use both high-quality and low-quality brans (roughages) such as hay, maize corn, grain by-products, pasture forage, silage, and corn. Non-protein nitrogen from biuret feed supplements and urea make up 1/3 to ½ of all beef cattle protein needs. It is typically fed with molasses in either liquid or grain portion or stir together with silage during ensiling.

You can also add sorghum, barley, wheat, or oats. For beef cattle to add weight, feed them 2.2% to 3% of their live weight daily.

When making cattle feed, make sure that it contains energy, crude protein, calcium, and phosphorus. These ingredients are essential in improving milk production in cows and build up muscles in beef cattle. When making your own cattle feed, the ingredients should also be mixed in the right portions to meet the required different feeding needs in livestock. 

Cattle Feed Revenue

In most countries, the feed industry makes up a fundamental economic component with average annual revenue of approx. $20 million. Since animal feed uses ingredients such as soybean meal and corn, the feed industry is the major of these.

Just like with The Wallstreet where quality input leads to high yields, it is no different when it comes to cattle rearing. You must harvest the components at the right time to ensure they retain their nutritional value.

Wrap-Up

Cattle thrive best on proper diet and nutrition to ensure that they maintain proper weight, boost fertility, increase milk yields, and promote overall health. If you have no space limitations, foraging is the best feeding technique for cattle with hay, straw, grass, straw, or legume being the best ingredients for feeding cattle.

As a rule of thumb, make sure that your cattle eat the right rations of the available types of feed available. 

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