What is Feed and Types of Feed?


Customers are able to learn everything that they need to know about feed and then some. However, there can be some confusion when it comes to some of the basic questions that are asked. For example, common sense would tell us that feed is the food that is consumed by animals.

On the other hand, there are who may be puzzled by the types of feeds and which ones will be right for their animals in particular. This guide, from the experts at David Woods Hay Service, will provide a more nuanced look for all those who find themselves in need of feed-related assistance.

The Two Different Types of Animal Feed

Animal feed is broken down into two different types: roughage and concentrates. In order to develop a stronger understanding of each and how they can benefit your livestock, you’ll need to educate yourself on each of them.


Cereal grains and their byproducts are one of the most commonly utilized forms of concentrate feeds. This includes barley, corn, rye and oats. These grains are typically grown strictly as animal feed, although much smaller amounts are produced with human consumption in mind. Production only takes place on a seasonal basis, due to a combination of temperature and moisture conditions.

Even though the growing season is limited, it is still crucial for an entire year’s supply to be produced. Once the growing season is complete, the grain is stored in buildings where it cannot be compromised by moisture, insects or rodents. For best results, it must be dried to 14% moisture or less. Storing a year’s worth of grain is considered best because failures will occur from time to time.

In addition to these grains, there are a number of byproduct feeds. When cereal grains are processed on a larger scale for human consumption, large quantities of animal feed are also produced. Milled wheat is the largest of all these groups. This includes wheat mill feed, wheat germ meal and wheat bran.

In many regions, bakery waste is utilized for the same purposes. Various pastry-related products, stale bread and rolls are all ground up to create animal feed. The same practice is followed in locations where rich is being polished for human consumption. Rice hulls and rice bran are used for this purpose and are a common byproduct feed.

Dried citrus pulp and citrus molasses are available as low-cost feeds for sheep and cattle. European farmers may rely on beets and roots for a similar purpose. Beet tops are particularly popular in this regard. For animals that require high-protein meals, there is a wide range of concentrates that are relied upon.

Sunflower seeds, oil palm, soybeans, peanuts, canola, flaxseed, cottonseed and coconuts are all used for this exact purpose. Once the seeds have been removed to process the oil, the residues will then be sold as a form of animal feed. The hulls and shells are also taken away. In some instances, the shells and hulls are left on, which provides farmers with animal feed alternatives that are higher in fiber.

Higher protein feeds like these are designed to serve as a supplement to cereal grains, roughage and lower protein feed. This is especially important for animals that require additional amino acids and proteins. Brewer’s grains, brewer’s yeasts, pineapple bran and fish meals are also produced in the form of animal feed byproducts.


When it comes to roughage, pasture is the most commonly used form of animal feed. These grasses and legumes can be cultivated and native to the region. For goats, horses, cows and sheep, this is the most important form of roughage. Farmers who are looking to save money during the growing season will rely on them heavily.

Feeds that need to be harvested, processed and transported are always going to cost more than these forms of roughage. Best of all, there are hundreds of grasses and legumes that can serve as animal feed, giving farmers plenty of options to choose from. Of course, hay will also play a huge role here.

Farmers must make sure that their hay’s moisture has been reduced to 18 percent or below. Clover and alfalfa hay are chosen by farmers that seek hay that is rich in protein. If there is not a sufficient amount of pasture grass available to the animals, hay is a crucial supplement.

In addition to these forms of roughage, silage is another commonly utilized animal feed. In order to create silage, immature plants are moved from their natural habitat and placed in containers that are airtight. The fermentation process creates lactic acids and acetic acids, which keep the feed moist.

Unlike the other forms of feed, where moisture is removed, this feed is designed to remain at a high level of moisture. 50 to 70 percent is considered best. The moisture content cannot rise too high, though. Nutrient seepage is a very real issue in these instances. Corn, sorghum and grasses are used to create silage.

The nutritional value will depend on the type of forage that is being used and the curing process. Root crops can be utilized as a form of animal feed, but this does not happen as often as it used to. Financial reasons are to blame for this, but animals also do not benefit in the manner that most would expect. Protein and dry matter content are not found as easily in root crops, but they can be used to provide animals with an energy boost.

Hulls and straw can be used as cattle feed, too. Straw is chosen for animals who require a diet that is higher in fiber, but it is very low in protein. Farmers may not wish to rely on straw because it is not a very digestible form of animal feed either. It cannot be used as animal feed for an extended period of time, but it will do in a pinch for mature animals. Rice hulls and corncob usage creates similar issues.


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