The Best Big Bale Feeders For Cattle
Dairy and beef cattle farmers will know there is a lot that goes into feeding livestock effectively and maintaining the health and well-being of cattle, particularly in the often harsh Australian climate.
Cattle require certain amounts of nutrients to stay healthy and thriving. Sometimes grazing alone doesn’t meet these requirements, especially in times of drought or extreme weather conditions.
When cattle don’t have access to sufficient feed, supplementary feeding is necessary to keep them alive and healthy.
But what’s the best way to distribute supplementary feed to ensure cattle are getting enough? It’s an important question to ask, particularly if you have a large head of cattle to maintain. Supplementary feeding often comes at a time when other resources are diminished, so it’s important to feed cattle efficiently and effectively.
This is when many farmers find big bale feeders for cattle the perfect solution.
Square and round bale feeders can easily carry, transport, and distribute large amounts of baled feed. They provide a convenient and efficient feeding system, ensuring that the process is as automated as possible and wastage is reduced.
In early drought phases, grains and hays can act as a good substitute for paddock feed, as well as a supplement. Cereal grains, like oats or wheat, are generally not efficient supplements when pasture feed is dry.
Cattle need certain nutrients daily, whereas others can be stored in the body. It’s important to understand the needs and levels of nutrients that cattle need, as well as how they work in the body. This will allow you to provide the most effective feeding routine and ensure they stay at optimum health.
Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional requirements of cattle.
Nutritional requirements for cattle
Water is key to the health of cattle, like most animals. Although it’s not considered a nutrient, water is essential for maintaining organ function and body temperature, as well as growth, reproduction, lactation, digestion, metabolism, excretion, the transportation of nutrients and waste in the body, and many other functions. Water plays a big role in the wellbeing of the herd, whether they are beef or dairy cattle.
Feeds themselves contain water, so some of the daily water needs are met by the feed they consume. However, given that the Australian landscape is prone to dry conditions, access to water is imperative for all cattle.
There are two types of energy that cattle need for production and health. There is the energy of maintenance that is required to maintain proper functions like respiration, circulation, and digestion. Then there is the energy that they need for growth and reproduction, called the net energy for production. The NE is calculated as the amount of energy intake deposited as muscle and/or fat in animals gaining weight.
Cattle at different stages of life will require different amounts of energy. Growing calves, pregnant or lactating cows, or cows with special requirements will need a higher energy intake because they are expending more.
Protein is a key nutrient required by cattle for health and growth. Energy deficiency is generally the most common deficiency, however protein deficiency is the next most common. Low protein diets adversely affect the protein production in the rumen, which in turn can reduce the utilisation of low-protein food in the body. This is why the potential nutritional value of roughages like hay and silage may be lost, as protein levels may be inadequate. Finding the right balance is key to maintaining optimal health.
Minerals & vitamins
Some of the key minerals that cattle require include salt, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. The amounts of each mineral required can change depending on beef or dairy production, as well as the lifecycle of the animals.
The two key vitamins that cattle need are Vitamin A and D. A deficiency in Vitamin A in particular can cause a considerable impact to health, so ensuring that they are getting the required amounts is imperative.
The best feeding methods
If you need to supplement or substitute feed, such as when pastures are providing insufficient nutrients or if you have cattle that require more nutrients than normal, many farmers rely on hay or silage.
Bales of these supplementary feeds provide the best and most convenient solution. However, it’s important to know how to properly feed out to avoid wastage and ineffective feeding.
If you have a large herd, big bale feeders for cattle is the best feeding method for both farmers and cattle.
Some of the best big bale feeders on the market are the Champion and the Albybone, made by our specialty manufacturers at WMI Feeders. They each carry up to 6-8 large bales, have a strong and robust design, have convenient feed out systems and user-friendly maintenance.
If you want to find out more about these big bale feeders for cattle, or any of our other products, you can take a look at our website. You can also get in touch by calling us on 0488 605 713 or contacting us here.