Top 3 Beef Cattle Nutrient Requirements

nutrient requirements of beef cattle

Top 3 Beef Cattle Nutrient Requirements


Nutrient requirements of beef cattle vary from other livestock because cows belong to a class of animals called ruminant, which also includes goats, sheep, and, deer. A ruminant is an animal whose digestive system allows itself to process rough grass, which is its major source of nutrients and sustenance. Animals that belong to this class have high stomach capacity that can contain up to 50 gallons of food.

The digestive tract of a ruminant has a rumen, a sac that is filled with fluid and microbes. These microbes are made up of bacteria and single-celled organisms called protozoa that digest the roughage. When a cow eats, it first swallows the food with minimal chewing, stores the hay in its digestive system then later on regurgitate it for chewing to breakdown the mineral components of the food.



Since cows provide meat that is a rich source of protein for man, it is fairly obvious that nutrient requirements of beef cattle include protein. Protein is one of the major building blocks of the body and is usually measured in terms of what is called crude protein or CP.

If you are raising cattle for the purposes of providing meat, you need to capitalize on protein as the main component of your cattle’s nutrition. For a matured cow that weighs about 900 pounds, the crude protein should be at 7.0%. The CP proportion to a cow’s weight is inversed and this means that the heavier the cow, the lesser crude protein percentage is needed.



Nutrient requirements of beef cattle also include minerals that can help aid in reproduction, bone formation, and growth. What cows need are large amounts of macro minerals that include salt, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Micro minerals are also essential to your cattle’s development. Examples of trace minerals are zinc, copper, selenium, and sulfur. Minerals are bought and mixed to our cattle’s ratio because this ensures that the cows get the dietary requirement daily. They will not get this naturally by eating hay. Without adequate minerals, your cattle may suffer from the following:

•    Bowed leg bones
•    Brittle bones, poor growth
•    Poor fertility rate
•    Convulsions
•    Muscle tremors
•    Weakness
•    Inability to stand



Nutrient requirements to pay attention when raising beef cattle also include vitamins. The most needed vitamins for cattle are Vitamins A, D, and E. Contrary to minerals, vitamins are taken from good forage or hay. Well preserved forage contains high dosages of vitamins but they diminish overtime so it is very important that you have fresh sources of hay everyday.

Muscle mass dictates how lean your cows will be so this is a critical component of nutrient requirements of beef cattle.

Vitamin A is important for growth and eye clarity. It is also an important component of reproduction and physical maintenance. Lack of vitamin A can result to low fertility rate and will significantly affect calf reproduction. Vitamin D, on the hand, is needed for the development of strong bones. Weak cows make poor meat quality and are susceptible to brittle bones, resulting to early death. Lastly, vitamin E is perhaps the most important because it is an essential component to muscle development.

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