Knowing the quality of the components going into your livestock feed is crucial to the success of your operation. Most formulation software packages assign standard nutritional values for the components in a diet. But, what happens when the quality of these components does not match that assigned by the software program? You may not see the impact of nutritional variability of the diet in your day-to-day livestock performance, but it can ultimately manifest itself in feed intake, daily gain and animal health over time.
So, what kinds of things can impact the nutritional value of the diet?
- Long-term storage of corn in grain bins, flat storage or rail cars can lead to reductions in nutritional quality, particularly in years where the corn is harvested at higher moisture levels.
- Mold and yeast growth in grains or Total Mixed Rations (TMR), improperly ensiled forages and poor-quality fat all rob nutrients from the feed your animals rely on for growth.
- Mycotoxins in grain sources can lead to reduced feed intake or reproductive issues.
- Oxidation of supplemental dietary fat can deplete the feed of expensive vitamins needed to maintain the health and well-being of livestock.