Animal feed for livestock and poultry usually consists of a selection of ingredients designed to give the animals as much nutrition as possible.
Nutrition is important in animal feed as it supports the health and wellbeing of the animals, as well as ensuring the quality of the produce derived from them. Animals need a mix of different nutrients in a balanced way which makes sure their minimum nutritional needs are met. In this article, we break down four key reasons why nutrition is so important in animal feed.
1. Promotes Health and Wellbeing
Just like people, animals need nutrients. This includes the basics like protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins. These form the building blocks for the animals to grow and sustain themselves. Protein helps with the animal’s growth, supporting the development of muscles and other body parts. Energy comes from carbs and fats, which help sustain animal functions and activity. Minerals and vitamins also support vital aspects of their development.
Across all these different nutrients, there are minimum requirements animals need on a regular basis to ensure the animals develop properly. Balancing the mix of nutrients in the feed is therefore important.
2. Improves Productivity and Performance
By providing balanced nutrients in feed, farmers can ensure better productivity. Healthy animals means better output. Imbalanced feeding (where there is too much of some nutrients and not enough of others) can lead to problems like:
- Lower production and yield
- Poor reproduction and growth
- Reduced immune response in animals
- Increase chance of disease
Controlled feeding, which ensures the right balance of nutrients can help prevent this. Studies have been performed showing for instance that stock produces more milk when given the right ratio of nutrients.
3. Saves Money and Resource
Providing animals with balanced nutrition in their feed helps farmers reduce the risk of diseases and improve feed efficiency, which means less feed is required to produce the same amount of meat, milk or eggs.
This saves farmers money on feed costs and reduces their environmental footprint by minimizing waste. In addition, better-fed animals tend to produce higher quality products, which increases their value in the market.
Therefore, investing in proper nutrition in animal feed is a cost-effective way for farmers to improve their bottom line while also promoting sustainable agriculture.
4. Supports Sustainability
Ensuring proper nutrition in animal feed is a vital component of sustainable agriculture. By providing animals with the necessary nutrients, farmers can enhance their overall health, reduce the risk of diseases, and improve their growth and productivity.
This, in turn, can increase the efficiency of animal production and reduce the environmental impact associated with it, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing the use of resources such as water and land.
Additionally, a well-nourished animal requires fewer antibiotics, and other inputs, further promoting sustainability by reducing the environmental and health risks associated with their use.
Looking for more information on animal feed and nutrition? Visit the FeedSafeNZ site for regular content and updates.