Red Clover Hay Supplementation Grows Fat Cattle

To jump right to the end of the story, researchers have found when 15% of the diet of steers in pasture was a supplement of red clover hay/ with about 3 pounds of dried distillers grain, they gained more weight than those on pasture alone - 2.45 pounds a day compared to 1.94. That's interesting and helpful information, but it leaves out information that tells us why we care and what we can do with it. So let's go deeper. Why Red Clover? To answer this question, we need to know a little more about the rumen and how it functions. Ruminant digestion is a process that relies on billions of bacteria and microorganisms. While beneficial bacteria break down fiber and turn forage into nutrients, there are some that “steal” protein and turn it into methane excreted as gas, or ammonia excreted in urine. One way to prevent this theft is feeding low-levels of antibiotics. Antibiotics suppress these “Hyper Ammonia-producing Bacteria” (HABs) so that the animal can absorb nutrients that otherwise would have been lost and can gain weight more rapidly. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked feedlots and producers to phase out the use of antibiotics as feed supplements over concerns that it could lead to more antibiotic resistant bacteria. The hunt for a replacement ramped up, and Red Clover was explored as one option Red Clover contai

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One thought on “Red Clover Hay Supplementation Grows Fat Cattle

  1. Are we to conclude that 15% mix of red clover in a pasture is good for growing fatter cows and emitting less greenhouse gases?

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