Food for thought on feed!

Status
Not open for further replies.

jags

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,061
Location
Michigan
Feed costs represent one of the largest annual operating cost for most. In order to maintain an optimum balance between feed costs and production, feeds must be analyzed and these analyses used to formulate rations and (or) supplements. Feedstuffs vary widely in nutrient concentration due to location, harvest date (maturity), year, and other management practices. Tabular values may be used if necessary, but it is important to remember that they are average values and that significant variation exists. On a dry matter basis, energy can easily vary ±10%, crude protein ±15%, and minerals by a much greater margin. You may use the same feed all the time but that does not mean the animals are able to utilize and get the same value from it year around. A lot depends on the mills quality control and how much testing they do to ensure what they think they are putting into the pellets is what they actually have in the pellets. The ingredients can and do vary greatly at different times of the year and even though the same ingredients at the same ratio's are used the pellets will be different. If not tested no adjustments will be made and the end product will vary in quality. It will still meet the standards of the analysis posted on the feed tag but you would not even bother to look at the tag if you knew how much the actual feed values can differ from the values listed on the tag. I have seen feeds listed at min 16% protein have over 20% in them. Most times it is not a huge difference as some changes can make the milling cost go up, but if a certain ingredient is of a much higher value and does not affect the cost the pellets can vary greatly. If you watch your feed very closely does the color change at all with the time of the year it is made?
 

jags

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,061
Location
Michigan
Almost everything in this country is regulated and that
includes feed for animals. The regulations and feed laws
developed by The Association of American Feed Control Officials
try to insure the product you are purchasing is safe,
consistent, and meet the nutritional statements the manufacturer
is claiming for that product.

Each state is responsible for insuring feed manufacturers comply
with the commercial feed laws mandated by the AAFCO. State
inspectors periodically make calls on local businesses and
manufacturers. The inspection may include pulling random tests
of feeds. These tests are then compared to the feed tag to
insure the information being provided to the consumer is
correct.

Most state feed laws require the following information be stated on the product.


1. Net weight
2. Product name
3. Name and address of the manufacturer
4. Guaranteed analysis of the feed


A. Minimum percentage of crude protein
B. Minimum percentage of crude fat
C. Maximum percentage of crude fiber
D. Minimum and maximum percentage of calcium E. Minimum percentage of phosphorus
F. Minimum copper in parts per million (ppm) G. Minimum zinc in parts per million (ppm) H. Minimum vitamin A (not naturally occurring in
the feed) in international
units per pound (I.U.)



5. Feeding directions

6. Any precautionary statements that are necessary for the
safe
feeding of the product.

Other information may be listed at the company's discretion.
Many premium feeds list other added minerals and vitamins.
Notice the mineral, selenium, is not required to be listed on
the feed tag. Knowing selenium has been added to the feed is
critical, due to the deficiencies in some areas of the country.
 

jags

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,061
Location
Michigan
The problem with the crude protein level on the bag is: how digestible is that protein?

Years ago I read a nutritional study that was conducted on a 2 by 4 piece of wood. It tested at a 12% crude protein level.
Purina Mills just tested a concoction they made which consisted of wood chips, clay, 10W40 motor oil and lawn fertilizer. The mixture tested at 14% crude protein level. Are these things able to be digested by our animals? No. Are there ingredients in feed that are edible, but the protein cannot be utilized? Yes.


Protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids are like links in a chain. These links can be in different locations, which result in 22 different amino acids. Some of these amino acids are easier to digest than others.

Lysine is one of the amino acids most recognized by owners. It is the first limiting amino acid, meaning if lysine is not available in sufficient quantities the animal will have trouble utilizing the other amino acids present in the diet.
Usually if the lysine requirement is being met the other amino acids will be present in sufficient quantities.

Remember you get what you pay for. Protein is the most expensive feed ingredient in a formula. If the product is cheap - the protein source was cheap. The lower the quality of feed the more pounds per day you will have to feed to meet your animals requirements.

The best source of protein is soybean meal. It is also the most expensive. Soybean meal is rich in lysine and other amino acids. Corn gluten meal, linseed meal, brewer's grain and distiller's grain are examples of inexpensive protein sources, but not easily digested by our animals.

There is not really any benefit feeding more protein than your animal requires. It would be a waste of money and feeding an excessive amount can cause problems.

Most of the protein not utilized will be excreted as waste.

Excessive amounts of protein will result in expensive urine and lots of it. In order to purge their system of unwanted protein the animal needs to drink large amounts of water. Animals with a compromised renal system (kidneys) may experience problems while trying to rid their bodies of the protein. Plus the cage will be wetter.
 

jags

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,061
Location
Michigan
Fat, as a feed ingredient, provides essential fatty acids, which help the horse absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. It is also necessary for the health of skin and coat. But, the most
popular use of fat in animal nutrition is as a source of energy.


Fat is about 2 ¼ times more energy dense than protein or carbohydrates. This means you can feed less and in chin nutrition the less concentrate you feed the better off they will be. Remember, their digestive system is designed to utilize forage
not concentrates.


At about 2% fat the diet would be fine if the chin is at maintenance activity level. A breeding or growing chin would lack energy, have no stamina, a dull hair coat and probably be in poor body condition on this diet.

Fat is utilized by the chins digestive system differently than carbohydrates.


Fat produces energy using aerobic metabolism. This type of energy uses oxygen and the energy is released slowly. Once the muscles are trained to utilize this type of energy the
chin does much better. The onset of fatigue is delayed, because the energy is slowly being used as opposed to the quick burst of energy that is provided by carbohydrates.


Notice the fat amount stated is the minimum amount that will be available in that product. Keep in mind the higher the percentage of fat the less you will have to feed to meet energy requirements.

Supplemental fat sources are vegetable and animal fats. The chins digestive system can utilize all of them fairly efficiently. Vegetable oil, such as corn or soy oil, is up to 95% digestible. Animal fat is about 75% digestible.

Within the category of vegetable fat sources are products like rice bran and flax seed. They are primarily used in commercial fat supplements which are top dressed on the regular diet. These products will have a high fat content stated on the feed ;some as high as 24% or more.
 

jags

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,061
Location
Michigan
Fiber-you know how important it is for you - well, it is even more important for your chin.

A feed tag will list the percentage of fiber which may be as low as 12% or as high as 25 per cent. But, what do these numbers tell us?

The digestive system of the chin is designed to digest fiber - in the form of forage (hay or pasture). They have a very small stomach and a very large hind gut. The cecum (part of the hind gut) is where long-stemmed fiber is digested. It is a fermentation vat.

So, based on the knowledge that chins need a high fiber diet you would think the higher the percentage of fiber, the better the feed. But, like most things related to nutrition it is not that easy. How digestible is the fiber source? Is the feed designed for the nutritional needs of the individual?


There are several ingredients used in feed as fiber sources. Some of these ingredients are also used as inexpensive "filler", which do nothing for the chin nutritionally, but do keep the cost of the feed down (per bag, not per meal.)

Keep in mind these ingredients are not considered to be long-stem fiber. Sources of long-stem fiber are hay, pasture, alfalfa cubes (not pellets) and chopped hay.

The Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) rating tells us how digestible the fiber is in a feed source. Here is a list of some of the popular fiber sources in feed; the higher the ADF the lower the digestibility.


INGREDIENT CRUDE FIBER ADF
Wheat Middlings 9.5% 11-13%
Rice Bran 14.0% 18-20%
Beet Pulp 20.0% 20-25%
Oat Hulls 33-36% 36-40%
Soy Hulls 11-13% 46-54%


As you study this chart you will notice just because the crude fiber percentage is high does not mean the animal will be able to utilize the fiber. Beet pulp and rice bran would be the best choices for fiber in a premium chin feed formula, but the most expensive. You get what you pay for. Wheat middlings are a good choice, but the crude fiber level is low, even though the ADF is excellent.

If the feed formula contains a large quantity of oat hulls or soy hulls the recommended feeding rate per day will be higher than a product that contains more digestible ingredients. Yes, the product will be inexpensive to purchase per bag, but you will have to feed more to meet the nutritional needs of your animal.
 

jags

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,061
Location
Michigan
Minerals are not manufactured in the body or in the plants animals eat. Yes, there are minerals in bodies and plants, but they are not produced within the system. Minerals come from the soil.

Plants absorb minerals from the soil. Your chin then eats those plants (forage and grain)...

The problem is the soil varies in mineral content. Different geographical regions have different minerals in the soil. Some regions have too much or too little. This is why the same formula with food stuff from different areas can affect the overall quality of the feed and differences we see at different times of the year.

Another problem is our chins are kept confined in a cage. They never have a chance to obtain minerals the natural way.

Our animals depend on us to provide the needed minerals. We do this by providing a good quality concentrate, and - in some extreme cases - feeding a mineral supplement.

Minerals interact with other minerals. One mineral may interfere with the absorption of other minerals. Extreme caution must be observed when supplementing with minerals. Imbalances and toxic levels are very possible.

Look at your feed tag. There should be four minerals listed: calcium, phosphorus, copper and zinc. There might be others, but these four are required by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

The calcium and phosphorus levels must be in the correct ratio. 1 to 1 ½ parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus is the ratio desired. Formulas should contain about 0.70% calcium and 0.45% phosphorus. Feeds for growing and pregnant animals can be as high as 1% calcium and 0.65% phosphorus.

Copper and zinc are stated in parts per million (ppm). They are needed in very small amounts.

The copper amount could be as low as 35 ppm or as high as 55 ppm. Premium feeds designed for pregnant animals should have the higher amounts. Copper is very important to the developing fetus.

Zinc amounts will vary also. Some feeds might contain 140 ppm or have as much as 220 ppm.

Selenium is a very important mineral. It is deficient in many parts of the country. But, it is not required to be stated on the feed tag - though most companies do include it. The amount will vary from product to product. The average amount supplied will be approximately 0.3 ppm to 0.6 ppm. Once again, the formulas for pregnant animals should contain the higher amount.

I cannot stress enough the care that must be taken when offering mineral supplements. Unless you are working under the supervision of a veterinarian it is recommended to feed plenty of good quality forage, a commercial feed designed to compliment that forage and is designed for the age and activity level of your animal. Also, make sure your chins have access to fresh clean water.
 

jags

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,061
Location
Michigan
Did you take your vitamins today? Did your chins get theirs? And if you did and they did, did you get too many vitamins?

Vitamins are organic. That means they consist of living enzyme complexes. Vitamins are needed for building body tissue and extracting energy from proteins, fats and carbohydrates. They help prevent diseases caused by nutritional deficiencies. Vitamins also play an important part in the healing process. Some vitamins are also antioxidants. Antioxidants bind to free radicals and prevent them from destroying cells.

One thing to keep in mind when learning about vitamins is - a little goes a long way. Too much can do more harm than good. Products containing vitamins are some of the most oversold and misused supplements on the market.

Vitamins are classified in two groups: "fat soluble" and "water soluble".

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. They dissolve in fat and any excess will be stored in the body fat and liver.

Vitamin C and the family of B vitamins are water-soluble. They dissolve in water and any excess is excreted in the urine. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored for future use.

Vitamins are provided to the animals in various ways. Some are synthesized (produced) within the animals own digestive system; others are provided by the feed (grain, forage or supplements); and one (vitamin D) is provided by the sun.

Animals in the last 90 days of gestation, lactating, growing, seniors, animals with health problems and animals consuming poor quality feed may need vitamin supplementation. In most cases if you feed plenty of good quality forage and chose a concentrate designed for your animal (which you feed according to the feeding directions) a vitamin supplement will not be needed.

Take a look at your feed tag. You may notice it only lists one vitamin. Vitamin A is the only vitamin required to be stated on the tag by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Vitamin A does not naturally occur in grains used in the production of feed, so it must be added. There are other vitamins in the product, but they are not required to be listed on the tag.
 

jags

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,061
Location
Michigan
Look at the tag on the bag to see the ingredients.

Does the tag list grain products, plant protein products, processed grain products, forage products and roughage products? Or does it list corn, barley and oats?

There was a time, and many people still believe this, if the ingredient list stated the mix contained grain products, plant protein products, processed grain products, forage products and roughage products it was an inferior product. The reason for this belief was the term called Least Cost Formulation.

Least Cost Formulation allows the use of a lower priced ingredient to replace a higher priced ingredient in order to keep the price down. The nutrition in the feed remains constant, but the ingredients can change.

Today many reputable feed companies list the ingredients as "products" for other reasons.

Geographical Region: A large company that manufactures feed at different mills in the United States will use the "product" listing method because it allows them to use the grains available in the area without having to print numerous tags. A specific feed purchased in Ohio will have the same feed tag as one purchased in California - but the feed will be formulated for each region.

Nutritionally Accurate: Reputable companies frequently test ingredients for nutrition levels. The nutrient analysis in grains can fluctuate, so by using the "product" listing method amounts can be adjusted in order to keep the ration balanced.

Purina Mills has coined a term for this method of formulation: Constant Nutrition Formulation™. The ingredients in every batch of feed produced are adjusted so the nutrition is constant mix to mix. The feed tag is accurate.

Confidentiality: Reputable companies spend huge amounts of money on research, and in order to protect the feed from being copied by competing firms, the "product" listing method is used.

The bottom line when trying to decide if you want to feed the formula using the "product" listing method is the reputation of the manufacturer. Is it a reputable company that spends money on research, has research farms where the ration is being tested and has a support staff to help you with your questions?

Listing the ingredients by using the actual grain names is nice-it makes it easier for you to know exactly what is being used in the ration.

What is in grain products, plant protein products, processed grain products, forage products and roughage products? The ingredients used can be any or all contained in the list.

Grain products: barley, corn, oats, wheat, rice, rye.

Plant protein products: cottonseed meal, linseed meal, soybean meal, heat processed soybeans, cultured yeast.

Processed grain by-products: brewers dried grains, distillers dried grains, corn gluten meal, wheat middlings, rice or wheat bran.

Forage products: alfalfa meal, grass hay.

Roughage products: beet pulp, hulls (barley, oat, peanut or rice).

Generally the ingredients are listed according to the amounts in the mix. The first one listed is the greatest amount and the last one listed is the least.

The ingredients used to insure the formula provides adequate vitamins and minerals are listed next. If a preservative was used and molasses was added those will also appear in the ingredient list.

While many of us may experiment with ingredients when making a cake (sometimes to disastrous and inedible results), feed companies do not take that chance. They know animal owners trust them to insure the ingredients in the formula are edible and safe.
 

jags

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,061
Location
Michigan
There is a bit of a mystery surrounding the proper reading and understanding of feed tags, and here are some tips on how to make heads and tails of what you are reading:

Information provided on feed tags has been somewhat misunderstood and is commonly used in comparisons among different products. Product feed tag comparisons using only the feed tag without consideration of many other factors can lead to decisions which may compromise animal performance.

. The old saying, "You can't judge a book by its cover" also applies to feed tags. To determine the difference among products, "let the performance scale tell the tale."

A feed tag lists the amounts of some vital vitamins and minerals, plus percentages of protein, fat and fiber. It will provide, in general terms, what ingredients are mixed together to create those items. The ingredients used and their amounts make feeds different. The feed tag doesn’t provide estimates of energy or how much of each ingredient is in the ration.

Remember that unless stated specifically you will not be able to ascertain the quality of the ingredients from the list. Oats come in different bushel weights but unless your tag tells you what weight was used, all you know is that there are oats in the feed bag. Protein may come for a variety of sources, but not all of them are considered beneficial. One tip for those who are concerned about the quality of the protein in their feed: check for the lysine level guarantee. While the amount of the protein is important, the amino acid content ensures digestibility which is key to the animals ability to use the nutrients you are feeding. Generally speaking, soybean meal is an excellent protein source for adults, while milk proteins are used for the young. Protein level, fat percentage and energy are also listed on the tag and are of vital importance to your animals overall wellbeing. Keep in mind, however, that the amount of energy listed cannot be broken down into digestible energy and the indigestible kind! Thus, it is wisest to make an overall determination on the digestibility of the energy by turning a critical eye at the fat and fiber contained in the feed. As a general rule of thumb, the more fat and the less fiber a feed contains, the more digestible energy is contained therein.

While consumers like to comparison shop in the supermarket, trying to compare tags at the feed store is like comparing apples and oranges. Manufacturers do not use the same energy values for similar ingredients, nor do they use the same unit measurements.
Keep an eye on the presentation of the feed. Grain that is steam-flaked will provide your animal with a higher amount of digestible energy than a similar amount of simply cracked or whole grain.
Check out the mineral sources, since digestibility varies widely. Sulfates are more digestible than carbonates, yet organic mineral sources are more digestible than sulfates but they are also more expensive. If you do not mind spending the money, look for a tag listing of chelate and proteinate.
Vitamins need to be a part of a good feed. Make sure the tag lists thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline, folic acid, pyridoxine, biotin and B-12 as ingredients.

I hope this helps people more understand one important aspect of caring for their animals.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest posts



Top