Feeding Your Angus Beef Cattle: What to Feed Them for Optimum Growth

Blog | January 30th, 2017

Many would love to consider the entire notion of how to feed cattle as a simple task. However, what to feed your cattle for optimum growth is a complex process. The basics of consumption and optimum growth involve an analysis of the types of feed, the breed of cattle, how much feed and how the feed affects the cattle’s productivity and health. And to make the feeding even more complex, generally several types of feed are needed so that your cattle receive optimal nutrition. Simply put, what to feed Angus beef cattle for optimum growth is so much more than a bale of hay.

Nutritional Needs

In order to understand the nutritional need of your cattle you need to have some knowledge about forage quality and ruminant nutrition. First off, you will need to assess your cattle’s nutritional needs. Also, you need to access the available feeds by its nutritional structure.

Recognise Physical Features

One of the most important characteristics of your cattle is the body weight. In fact, understanding the physical features of your cattle will help you define nutritional requirements. For example, how much your cattle weigh determines what you should feed them.

You also have to consider desired average daily gain (ADG). How much weight are your cattle supposed to gain or lose? Consider the condition of your cattle and their growth rate.

As well, breed and type play a big factor in the type of food that should be consumed and the rations. British breeds such as Herford and Angus generally are low maintenance as compared to dairy cattle. In effect, Angus cattle are considered better converters of feed into muscle or milk.

Available Feeds

Fortunately, there are a huge variety of feeds to choose from for your cattle. For instance, there are various types of grain, hay and by-products. Moreover, what you select depends on the breed you have, the operation, your budget, geographical location and particular preference. Some of the major feed type options include:

Grain – barley, corn, oats, rye, triticale and wheat)
Mix – blends of grain, hay, silage, salt, supplements, vitamins, minerals, by-products, etc.
Hay -grass, legume, or grass-legume mix. You can also include pasture for grazing even though it is not sun-cured harvested forage like hay.
Silage – barley, corn or ensilage, oats, winter wheat, rye, winter rye, triticale, pasture grass
Straw – cereal grain chaff baled like barley, oats, rye, triticale and wheat. For legume and pulse straw it includes flax, lentils and peas and also greenfeed.
By-products – distillers grains like corn or wheat; alfalfa pellets, barley malt sprouts, brewer’s yeast, beet pulp, canola cake, canola meal, corn gluten, cottonseed meal, oat hulls, soybean meal, wheat middling etc.
Supplement – typically a type of protein with a certain amount of other minerals and grains. Also contains non-protein nitrogen (urea) used for cattle older than 6 months old.
Salt – in block or loose form. Generally blocks are 95 to 98% salt and 2 to 5% minerals.
Vitamins – includes vitamins A, D, and E and can be purchased as a feed-mix supplement
Minerals – typically includes calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and sulphur. As well, there are micro minerals like cobalt, iodine, iron, molybdenum, manganese, copper, zinc and selenium.
Fats – canola oil, sunflower oil and tallow
Milk – for calves only. Cow’s milk, or milk replacement formula is in powder form

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