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6 Feed Additives to Consider for Cattle

0 Author 2023-02-28 12:09:54

Additives have taken on a major role as part of animal feed, with the aim of improving the process of preparing it and its preservation, and thus improving the nutritional quality of the food. In Hebei Shuntian Biotechnology Co., Ltd., we are specialists in third party packaging in foodstuffs, as well as in additives, premixes and complementary animal feed. That is why we work with different types of additives and we are aware of all their benefits. They allow preventing some diseases and even improving the efficiency in production, thus reducing costs.

We then go through the different types of animal feed additives and the function of each one of them.


What types of animal feed additives are there?

In Hebei Shuntian Biotechnology Co., Ltd., we mainly work with technological, sensitive, nutritional and zootechnical feed additives. When we talk about technological additives, we are talking about substances that we incorporate to animal feed with a technological purpose. For example, here we refer to preservatives, antioxidants, emulsifiers, anti-caking agents, thickeners, gelling agents, binders, acidity regulators or denaturing agents, among others.

Sensitive additives can be found in the use of colouring agents or flavouring substances, for example, in order to change the colour or odour of food. The nutritional additives are very important, which provide vitamins, pro-vitamins, as well as chemically defined substances with an analogous effect, trace elements, amino acids, urea and derivatives.

As far as zootechnical additives are concerned, they consist of substances which function as digestives, to facilitate the digestion of food; as stabilisers with a positive effect on the intestinal flora; or substances which positively influence the environment, among others.

This is a sample of some of the types of additives that exist on the market, but there are more. When buying and dealing with animal feed additives, it is necessary to make sure that the company hired is reliable, professional and has the right permits and certificates.


Yeast Hydrolysate

Yeast Hydrolysate


6 Feed Additives to Consider for Cattle

A few federal veterinary feed directive (VFD) has stipulated that antibiotics can’t be used in animal feeds without a veterinary prescription. The routine use of feed-grade antibiotics for better cattle performance is over, but there are other tools that can help fill the gap. These feed additives are still available over the counter, which means no direct veterinary prescription is required. 

Do they work as well as feed-grade antibiotics? In some circumstances the answer is yes.


1. Enzymes

These feed additives improve digestion by degrading plant cell walls with enzymes from fungal fermentation. They can give improved feed efficiency. Sometimes they are used in natural-fed cattle where ionophores can’t be used.


2. Fermentation

They improve dry matter intake and weight gain in cattle. How they do it is somewhat unknown. Potentially, either they grow in the rumen and improve the digestion process, or they act like prebiotics and provide substrate for bacteria to grow on. 

There is limited data to show consistent response. Relatively inexpensive, they are in many calf supplements to improve digestion.


3. Probiotics

These are good bacteria, usually lactic acid bacteria such as lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and enterococcus. They stabilize intestinal microflora and decrease the risk of pathogenic bacteria. They are used for controlling diarrhea in calves. When fed to feedlot cattle, they may improve feed digestion and decrease the risk of food-safety pathogens.


4. Ionophores

Ionophores are another class of antibiotic-like compounds that don’t include medically important drugs for humans. The compounds were not affected by the changes in the VFD status of other feed-grade antibiotics. They increase feed efficiency by improving the fermentation process in the rumen and decrease the risk of acidosis and bloat. Their primary use is for feedlot cattle to improve weight gain and to prevent coccidiosis.


5. Vitamin and Mineral Packs

These provide essential vitamins and minerals to correct deficiencies in other feed sources. Feedlot performance results are variable and may depend on vitamin and mineral status prior to arrival at the feedlot. If there’s no deficiency to start with, they may not give much benefit.

Calves that are highly stressed from weaning, transportation, or poor conditioning may get an economic benefit from extra vitamin and mineral supplementation. 


6. Prebiotics

These feed ingredients are usually a nondigestible starch such as an oligosaccharide. Proponents say they can bind up and flush out harmful pathogens from an animal’s system. Their effect has not been definitive in cattle, as most work has been done in monogastric animals. The complex rumen makes it harder to identify the benefits in cattle. 

The products marketed today for cattle are primarily for improved digestion within the rumen, and they claim to improve feed efficiency in weaned calves.


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Hebei Shuntian biotechnology Co.,Ltd.

Add:Machang Town,Qing County ,Cangzhou City ,Hebei,China

Tel: +86-317-2135910

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