Oilseeds in cattle rations

US - A new publication from SDSU Cooperative Extension offers tips on using oilseeds for feeding beef cattle.
calendar icon 19 January 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

SDSU Extension Extra 2058, “Oilseed Crops In Beef Cattle Rations,” is available online by clicking here.

SDSU Extension Beef Specialist Julie Walker wrote the publication. Walker said feeding livestock the unprocessed, whole seed could be an alternative outlet for oilseed crops if the crop isn’t suited for human consumption for some reason.

The publication discusses whole soybeans, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, canola seeds, and whole cottonseed. It also discusses feeding oilseed meals.

The oil content of oilseeds determines the maximum inclusion level in beef cattle diets, Walker said. Most forages and grains contain 2 to 4 percent fat.  Because of this fat already in the diet, no more than 3 to 5 pounds per cow per day of oilseeds should be added to a ration so as not to increase total fat by more than 3 to 4 percent.

Walker said total dietary fat content should not exceed 8 percent of diet dry matter, and 4 to 5 percent is optimal for beef cattle.  More than 8 percent of the total ration dry matter will likely cause digestive problems, interfere with ruminal fermentation, and influence postruminal digestibility.

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