Good feed management practices on the farm help improve the quality of feed, thus increasing animal production. Below are a few feed management tips that farmers can use on their farms.
The use of supplements and additives
Supplements are an effective way to boost the nutritional value of the stock feed. Before using supplements and food additives, do some research to determine the best supplements for your livestock and what amounts you should use. Too many supplements in the animal's diet could cause health complications. Some supplements and additives you can consider giving your livestock include;
- Hormones and steroids to improve animal growth rate and increase milk production in cattle.
- Mycotoxin binders absorb mycotoxins in stock feed and help maintain a favourable pH.
- Red clover improves the animal's ability to digest proteins, therefore increasing animal production.
- Anti-stress agents help prevent and reduce stress in poultry.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements ensure animals consume essential vitamins and minerals that are not available in their daily diet.
- Acidifiers help prevent the growth of bacteria in the feed and improve the digestion process in your livestock.
Proper feed storage
Stock feed should be stored in a cool, dry place. Storing compound feed such as pellets in a damp environment could lead to the growth of moulds and aflatoxins. On the other hand, too much heat could breakdown some of the vitamins, thus reducing the nutritional value of the feed. Also, the storage facility should be free from pests such as rodents and weevils.
Reducing feed wastage
Animals often spill food as they eat. As such, feeding troughs should be designed to reduce feed spillage. Also, avoid feeding animals on the ground as they will either spill or step on some of the feed. Feeding troughs should be cleaned on a regular basis to remove leftover feed that might be rotting.
Monitoring feed quality
The quality of forage and fodder varies depending on the season and farming methods. Ensure good farming practice and harvest fodder at the right stage. If you allow it to overgrow, it could lose its nutritional value. At regular intervals, take your forage for testing to determine its nutritional content.
Monitoring animal health
Sick animals cannot make efficient use of the nutrients in the feed. As such, you should vaccinate your animals and deworm them to eliminate parasites in their gut.
To ensure that your livestock benefit from stock feed, make efficient use of feed additives, use appropriate storage facilities, reduce feed wastage, monitor feed quality and monitor animal health.