Key Nutrients Ruminants Need to Thrive

This is an excerpt from information provided by the Beef Cattle Research Council of Canada, so naturally it's focused on cattle. But the descriptions of energy and protein and the definitions of measurements of nutritional value cover all forages and ruminants. You'll find this helpful no matter what livestock you raise. Cattle require five key nutrients: energy, protein, water, minerals and vitamins Energy Energy is necessary for maintenance (feed digestion, core body functions, and activity requirements) and to support growth, lactation, and reproduction1. It accounts for the largest proportion of feed costs and is the nutrient required by cattle in the largest amount. The components of feed that determine its energy content include carbohydrates, fats and proteins. On a feed test, energy content is usually expressed as total digestible nutrients (TDN); however, more precise terms such as metabolizable energy (ME) or net energy (NE) for maintenance (NEm) or production (NEg) may be preferred by nutritionists. These terms better reflect the amount of energy from feed that contributes to animal productivity. Ene

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