Feed Management on Small Livestock Farms

Why is Feed Management Important?

Feed is the single largest source of nutrients brought into livestock farming.

In addition, diet formulation and utilization of the nutrients in the feed of livestock has a major influence on the excretion of nutrients and potentially the balance of the nutrients on a farm.


Feeding animals is both an art and a science. It is a science influenced by years of research and it is an art developed by centuries of practical experience.

Feeding Management

Feeding a balanced diet, avoiding overfeeding, and providing abundant supplies of cool, clean, and pure water will help to optimize feed and nutrient use on an animal farm.

If all nutrients are in a perfect balance, then there will be no excess and no wastage.

It is impossible for all nutrients to be in a perfect balance in commercial or practical diets, but as a farmer we try our possible best to come close to meeting an animal’s nutrient requirements.

Overfeeding can be harmful to animals and to the environment. Animals that become over-conditioned or obese may be unproductive and at greater risk of health problems. 

Water is the most abundant, cheapest, and least understood of all nutrients required for livestock production.

How does this affect nutrient management?

If we want our animals to reach maximum levels of production, then we must be ready to feed our animals optimally with adequate amounts of  water.

If water is inadequate or contaminated, then animals will use diets less efficiently, eat less, be less productive, and may excrete more nutrients in waste.

In Conclusion, Healthy animals fed balanced diets and provided with abundant supplies of fresh water will be the most productive.

These animals will be the most profitable to the farmer and the most efficient users of nutrients.

If you made it to the end of this article, don’t forget to check out our other post on “Importance of Water to livestock” here.

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