Do you want to maximise the potential of your livestock?
Are you grain feeding cattle or sheep, perhaps fully feedlotting, preparing stud cattle, bulls, export Wagyu, survival feeding, early weaning, backgrounding or simply grain assisting a few steers?
If the answer is yes to any of these scenarios, then it is critical for a successful grain feeding operation that you provide stock with a balanced ration to maintain rumen health. As ruminants aren’t designed to eat grain, there are some key principles that need to be considered in order to induct and transition livestock onto a grain or grain assist diet.
Our feed testing and ration formulations service is designed to restore mineral balance, help maximise weight gain, and improve productivity by providing adequate nutrient supply suitable for achieving your production goals. We aim to reduce your time and monetary costs by assessing the needs of your livestock operation and recommending a feeding program using high quality supplements, raw materials, and the latest techniques in livestock nutrition.
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Important Notes on Grain Feeding
A grain ration should be designed to give maximum weight gains and fattening rates at the lowest cost possible with minimal metabolic issues. If you are considering putting your livestock onto a grain ration there are a few important details that you need to consider.
What ingredients to use?
The initial selection of ingredients for your ration will depend largely on what is readily available to you and at the lowest cost possible. In saying that, when selecting ingredients it is also important to look at the quality and quantity and to compare forage prices on a dry matter basis. A very cheap source of contaminated grain or silage won’t end up so cheap if you lose the majority of your herd to toxicity. You must also be able to adapt the ration as the cost and availability of the ingredients change over time.
Some grains are safer to feed than others, for example it is safer to feed oats or barley over wheat as these grains have a higher ratio of fibre to starch than wheat does. Starchy cereal grains can be rapidly fermented in the rumen, producing lactic acid and this increases the risk of acidosis (grain poisoning). Another thing to note is that the more finely ground the grain, is the higher the risk of acidosis. However, grains like sorghum also need to be milled finer or steam flaked to increase utilisation.