Beef nutrition 101: What a veterinarian needs to know to work with a nutritionist


  • Sara Linneen Principal Technical Consultant, Elanco Animal Health, Arcadia, OK 73007



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.