Beef nutrition 101: What a veterinarian needs to know to work with a nutritionist
Keywords:cattle, health, nutrition
The disunion between veterinarians and nutritionists supporting the cattle industry is not new, albeit there are plentiful opportunities to improve. Successful operations need the perspective and technical knowledge of both professionals to optimize productivity. The need for improvement is magnified by the inability of the cattle industry to make strides in improving mortality rates that is most likely a reflection of management x health x nutrition interactions. Opportunity for veterinarians to support producers nutritionally is most prevalent among cattle segments not traditionally supported by trained nutritionists. These include cow-calf operations and confinement feeding operations with less than 500 head capacity. To facilitate nutritional conversations with the nutritionists, a basic understanding of the 6 classes of nutrients is critical. These classes include water, carbohydrates, lipids, protein, vitamins and minerals. A base level understanding of each nutrient paired with a broad idea of applied concepts associated with feeding will make for constructive two-sided conversations about nutrition between technical professionals.