Feeding is a major component of animal farming and contributes to the productivity of the farm. Animal feeds, also called animal forage, is edible food that is given to domestic livestock, most often cattle. Feeding is often the single largest expense for rural farmers, contributing up to 70% of total farm revenue. There are two categories of feeds: forage and feeds. Feeds are used to feed the animals themselves, while forage is used to feed the animals on a harvested field.
The feed contains all of the nutrients an animal requires to grow and thrive; the right feed can make the difference between healthy and unhealthy livestock. Livestock feeds are primarily for growth, although they are not without nutrients. Animal feeds have two primary uses: to promote growth and feed efficiency, as well as provide for the nutritional needs of the animals.
F fodder, or feeds that are feds directly to the livestock, is generally higher in protein than most plant matter. This protein can be mixed into the feeds to enhance its digestibility, providing the right level of nutrition for the animals. The feeds are most commonly fed alfalfa because it is a complete plant matter with good moisture content. Alfalfa is also rich in nitrogen, which helps the animal feed itself.