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Cattle Production Technologies: Cattle Nutrition

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 roughage 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:

  • Dry matter that satisfies the animal ‘s appetite and promotes good digestion;
  • Protein in amounts based on age, sex, body w eight and desired productivity;
  • Energy from carbohydrates, fats and excess protein;
  • 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.
  • Vitamins A, D, and E; and
  • 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 percent of their body weight in air-dry feed. A fresh grass has about 75% moisture content. 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.

Workers in King Ranch in Batangas Preparing Feeds


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.

Food supplement for cows, goats and carabaos

UREA – MOLASSES Mineral Block (UMMB)

UMMB or Urea-Molasses Mineral Block is a food supplement for cows, carabaos, sheep and goats. This is a block containing a mixture of urea, molasses or honey, cement, rice bran, vitamin and mineral such as di-calcium phosphate and salt.

Feeding UMMB is considered as one of the most important way to lessen the loss of essential and substantial food for animals especially in the warm months of the year.
Importance of UMMB

UMMB gives energy or heat, minerals and protein needed by animals to increase milk production.
UMMB is rich in:

  • - Mineral
    contains elements such as calcium, phosphorous, iodine, zinc, copper and other minerals that are not naturally found in grass. These minerals are important for growth, reproduction and milk production.
  • - Protein
    UMMB gives up to 50% protein needed by animals for growth. The mineral content of UMMB also helps in increasing milk production.
  • - Energy
    UMMB gives 45% energy needed by animals to increase production of meat and milk.

Steps in making UMMB:
  1. Prepare and weigh ingredients according to proper proportions:
  2. Prepare the mixing pot. Use a cook ware with a wide mouth like a vat. Old tires can be used a support to the vat.
  3. Pour honey into the vat. Slowly add urea while slowly stirring the mixture. Make sure there are no lumps of urea in the mixture.
  4. Add di-calcium phosphate and salt, stirring should be continuous.
  5. Add cement and continue stirring.
  6. Rice bran should be added last. In this case, its better to use hand in mixing or a cement mixer to mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  7. Pour the mixture into molds to form the blocks. Each bloke may weigh 1 to 5 kilos each.
  8. Wrap each block with plastic and arrange in a box. Wait for 1 to 2 weeks before feeding the block to the animals.

A low-technology and traditional way of making the Urea Molasses Multinutrient Block (UMMB). Simplicity is the key,this UMMB project can be made with a very simple method.

Method of Feeding:
UMMB is fed through “licking” of the animals. Feeding is not difficult since UMMB tastes good to the animals. Place and leave the UMMB in the animal feeder until animals get their daily nutrition needs.

Some Warning when Feeding UMMB:
  • Prevent the block from getting wet thereby feeding the animals in excess.
  • Don’t give UMMB to animals that are not more than six months and to those animals that are in their last trimester of pregnancy
  • Don’t give UMMB when animals are hungry or when the waterer is empty.
  • Call a veterinary when symptoms of poisoning are evident like salivating, difficulty in breathing, and bloating.

Other Characteristics of UMMB:
  • Helps in increasing appetite
  • Increases the ability to dissolve grass fibers and other feed eaten by the animals.
  • Maintains the energy and health of animals.

General Guide for Cattle Farmers

A. Selection of Feeder Stock
  • Purchase feeder stock from reliable breeder farms or select good quality steers from the livestock market.
B. Deworming and Spraying
  • Have fecal examination conducted to determine proper drugs for deworming. Spray animals to control external parasites such as ticks, lice and flies.

Angeles City Vet. Office Deworming cattle in Brgy. Mining, Angeles City

C. Disease Prevention
  • Never buy sick cattle. Make sure the animals are not stressed. Provide good sanitation.
  • Proper nutrition will help ensure the health of cattle and increase their resistance to diseases. Salt in the diet will help prevent foot rot.
  • Don’t mix newly arrived animals with cattle already on the farm. New arrivals should receive good quality roughage as a starter ration and then give water three to four hours later.
  • Bathe the animals at least once a week to clean them and to improve their feed intake.
  • Be alert for signs of illness. Isolate sick animals right away.
  • Deworm and immunize the animals from major infectious diseases. Spray the animals with insecticide to eliminate parasites like ticks and blood sucking fleas.
D. Feeding Management Practices
  • Feed animals daily with concentrate one to two kilograms per day during fattening period. Give roughage daily at 3% of body weight if given air dry or 14% if given fresh.
  • Give clean water without limit or ad libitum. Provide ordinary table salt about 30-50 grams per head per day.
  • Give the animals fresh, palatable feed and clean water at all times. Reduction of feed intake by 5 percent will reduce weight gain by 10 percent. Do not overstock feeds in the feedbunk since the bottom portion will develop heat and make the feed stale.
  • Mix feed properly. Have at least15-20 percent roughage in feed to prevent bloat and other digestive disorders.
  • During rainy days, cattle will eat more during the daytime. During summer, they will eat more at night and during the cooler hours. Provide enough feed during these periods.
  • Digestion will be more efficient if roughage is eaten separately from concentrates. Roughage consumption tends to stimulate saliva secretion up to as much as 80-120 liters per day.
  • Providing l2-14 inches of bunk space per head will allow cattle to eat slowly. This will help increase the rumen’s efficiency thereby acilitating digestion.
  • Schedule manure removal. If allowed to remain with the animals, deep, wet manure will reduce both feed intake and weight gain.

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