This topic explores some of the most important dynamics that impact the health and performance of rumen livestock on your farm.Four key factors influence the nutritional requirements of the ruminant: maintenance, growth, lactation and reproduction. A certain amount of nutrients are necessary for an animal to support digestion, tissue repair, daily activity and other housekeeping functions, however, a growing, lactating or pregnant animal will require significantly more or different nutrients than one in maintenance.
- Breeding and trait selection: Breed and trait selection to achieve the best outcomes for your site.
- Calf health: Improving the outcome of calves through feeding, shelter and care.
A healthy gut biome
A healthy and efficient rumen microbiome is essential for animals to perform and to reach optimum productivity – be that in milk production, rearing lambs or growing to appropriate finishing weights. Feeding the animal a balanced and nutritious diet is only half the story, as the gut microbiota must be able to digest incoming food and make nutrients available to the animal. In beef and dairy production, some management and environmental factors can compromise gut health, for example, sudden changes in the diet, abrupt weaning, transportation, stress or disease. An abrupt change in diet, including weaning, can be detrimental to the animal and changes are best made gradually, allowing the microbiome to adapt and continue to provide the animal with sufficient nutrients.