Animal Nutrition and Production

Ed Rayburn, Extension Specialist WVU Extension Service, Agriculture and Natural Resources

Animal Nutrition is based on knowing the nutritional requirements of livestock being managed. Animals obtain their nutrients from the feeds they eat. The major classes of nutrients are energy, protein, macro-minerals, micro-minerals, vitamins, essential fats, and water.

Ruminant livestock and horses can obtain most if not all of their nutrients from forage of adequate quality. Livestock differ in nutritional requirements based on age, activity, and production status. Knowing the animal’s nutritional requirement enables us to know if the forage on hand or to be purchased will meet that requirement and what type and how much supplement is needed to meet the animal’s nutritional needs.

Forage testing enables us to know the quality of forage being produced or purchased. Fact sheets dealing with forage testing and forage quality can be found in “Forage Quality”.

The following fact sheets provide the information needed to identify the nutritional needs of livestock.

Common Terms Used in Animal Feeding. Univ. GA

Beef Cattle Nutrient Requirements

Sheep Nutrient Requirements

Goat Nutrient Requirements

Horse Nutrient Requirements

Body Condition Score Description of Beef Cattle

Matching the Hay to the Cow

WVU-ES Beef Cattle Ration Balancer (Excel spreadsheet)

Cattle Mineral Supplement Calculator (Excel spreadsheet)

Selective Grazing

Calves Weaned and Backgrounded on Pasture Respond to Pasture Quality and Supplementation

Reducing the Risk of Grass Tetany