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A fodder factory set up by an individual farmer to produce customised cattle feed Fodder factory02.jpg
A fodder factory set up by an individual farmer to produce customised cattle feed

Fodder ( /ˈfɒdər/ ), also called provender ( /ˈprɒvəndər/ ), is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock, such as cattle, rabbits, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. "Fodder" refers particularly to food given to the animals (including plants cut and carried to them), rather than that which they forage for themselves (called forage). Fodder includes hay, straw, silage, compressed and pelleted feeds, oils and mixed rations, and sprouted grains and legumes (such as bean sprouts, fresh malt, or spent malt). Most animal feed is from plants, but some manufacturers add ingredients to processed feeds that are of animal origin.


The worldwide animal feed trade produced 873 million tons of feed (compound feed equivalent) in 2011, [1] fast approaching 1 billion tonnes according to the International Feed Industry Federation, [2] with an annual growth rate of about 2%. The use of agricultural land to grow feed rather than human food can be controversial (see food vs. feed); some types of feed, such as corn (maize), can also serve as human food; those that cannot, such as grassland grass, may be grown on land that can be used for crops consumed by humans. In many cases the production of grass for cattle fodder is a valuable intercrop between crops for human consumption, because it builds the organic matter in the soil.[ citation needed ] When evaluating if this soil organic matter increase mitigates climate change, both permanency of the added organic matter as well as emissions produced during use of the fodder product have to be taken into account.[ clarification needed ] Some agricultural byproducts fed to animals may be considered unsavory by humans.[ citation needed ]

Common plants specifically grown for fodder

Round hay bales Round hay bale at dawn02.jpg
Round hay bales
Newton of Cawdor stack of bales, sweet-smelling fodder stored for winter Newton of Cawdor stack of bales - - 545290.jpg
Newton of Cawdor stack of bales, sweet-smelling fodder stored for winter
Cut green fodder being transported to cattle in Tanzania African boy transporting fodder by bicycle edit.jpg
Cut green fodder being transported to cattle in Tanzania


Health concerns

In the past, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or "mad cow disease") spread through the inclusion of ruminant meat and bone meal in cattle feed due to prion contamination. This practice is now banned in most countries where it has occurred.[ citation needed ] Some animals have a lower tolerance for spoiled or moldy fodder than others, and certain types of molds, toxins, or poisonous weeds inadvertently mixed into a feed source may cause economic losses due to sickness or death of the animals. The US Department of Health and Human Services regulates drugs of the Veterinary Feed Directive type that can be present within commercial livestock feed.[ citation needed ]


Feed crusher. 1976 Opytnaia drobilka kormov F-IM, vid so storony elektroprivoda.png
Feed crusher. 1976

Increasing intensities and frequencies of drought events put rangeland agriculture under pressure in semi-arid and arid geographic areas. Innovative emergency fodder production concepts have been reported, such as bush-based animal fodder production in Namibia. During extended dry periods, some farmers have used woody biomass fibre from encroacher bush as their primary source of cattle feed, adding locally-available supplements for nutrients as well as to improve palatability. [9] [10] [11]

Production of sprouted grains as fodder

On-site system in the US Fodder Solutions.jpg
On-site system in the US

Fodder in the form of sprouted cereal grains such as barley, and legumes can be grown in small and large quantities.

Systems have been developed recently[ when? ] that allow for many tons of sprouts to be produced each day, year round. Sprouted grains can significantly increase the nutritional value of the grain compared with feeding the ungerminated grain to stock. [12] In addition, they use less water than traditional forage, making them ideal for drought conditions. Sprouted barley and other cereal grains can be grown hydroponically in a carefully-controlled environment. [13] Hydroponically-grown sprouted fodder at 150 mm tall with a 50 mm root mat is at its peak for animal feed.

Although products such as barley are grain, when sprouted they are approved by the American Grassfed Association to be used as livestock feed.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

British Agricultural Revolution Mid-17th to 19th century revolution centred around agriculture

The British Agricultural Revolution, or Second Agricultural Revolution, was an unprecedented increase in agricultural production in Britain arising from increases in labour and land productivity between the mid-17th and late 19th centuries. Agricultural output grew faster than the population over the hundred-year period ending in 1770, and thereafter productivity remained among the highest in the world. This increase in the food supply contributed to the rapid growth of population in England and Wales, from 5.5 million in 1700 to over 9 million by 1801, though domestic production gave way increasingly to food imports in the nineteenth century as the population more than tripled to over 35 million. Using 1700 as a base year (=100), agricultural output per agricultural worker in Britain steadily increased from about 50 in 1500, to around 65 in 1550, to 90 in 1600, to over 100 by 1650, to over 150 by 1750, rapidly increasing to over 250 by 1850. The rise in productivity accelerated the decline of the agricultural share of the labour force, adding to the urban workforce on which industrialization depended: the Agricultural Revolution has therefore been cited as a cause of the Industrial Revolution.

Animal husbandry Management, selective breeding, and care of farm animals by humans

Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, fibre, milk, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long history, starting with the Neolithic revolution when animals were first domesticated, from around 13,000 BC onwards, predating farming of the first crops. By the time of early civilisations such as ancient Egypt, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs were being raised on farms.

Silage Fermented fodder preserved by acidification

Silage is a type of fodder made from green foliage crops which have been preserved by fermentation to the point of acidification. It can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants. The fermentation and storage process is called ensilage, ensiling or silaging. Silage is usually made from grass crops, including maize, sorghum or other cereals, using the entire green plant. Silage can be made from many field crops, and special terms may be used depending on type: oatlage for oats, haylage for alfalfa.

Forage Plant material eaten by grazing livestock

Forage is a plant material eaten by grazing livestock. Historically, the term forage has meant only plants eaten by the animals directly as pasture, crop residue, or immature cereal crops, but it is also used more loosely to include similar plants cut for fodder and carried to the animals, especially as hay or silage.

Sprouting Practice of germinating seeds to be eaten raw or cooked

Sprouting is the natural process by which seeds or spores germinate and put out shoots, and already established plants produce new leaves or buds or other newly developing parts experience further growth.

Legume Plant in the family Fabaceae

A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae, or the fruit or seed of such a plant. When used as a dry grain, the seed is also called a pulse. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for human consumption, for livestock forage and silage, and as soil-enhancing green manure. Well-known legumes include beans, soybeans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, tamarind, alfalfa, and clover. Legumes produce a botanically unique type of fruit – a simple dry fruit that develops from a simple carpel and usually dehisces on two sides.

Feedlot An array of pens for feeding livestock for human consumption

A feedlot or feed yard is a type of animal feeding operation (AFO) which is used in intensive animal farming, notably beef cattle, but also swine, horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens or ducks, prior to slaughter. Large beef feedlots are called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) in the United States and intensive livestock operations (ILOs) or confined feeding operations (CFO) in Canada. They may contain thousands of animals in an array of pens.

Grazing feeding livestock on forage

In agriculture, grazing is a method of animal husbandry whereby domestic livestock are allowed outdoors to roam around and consume wild vegetations in order to convert the otherwise indigestible cellulose within grass and other forages into meat, milk, wool and other animal products, often on land unsuitable for arable farming.

Cattle feeding Description of husbandry practice

There are different systems of feeding cattle in animal husbandry. For pastured animals, grass is usually the forage that composes the majority of their diet. Cattle reared in feedlots are fed hay supplemented with grain, soy and other ingredients to increase the energy density of the feed. The debate is whether cattle should be raised on fodder primarily composed of grass or a concentrate. The issue is complicated by the political interests and confusion between labels such as "free range", "organic", or "natural". Cattle raised on a primarily foraged diet are termed grass-fed or pasture-raised; for example meat or milk may be called grass-fed beef or pasture-raised dairy. The term "pasture-raised" can lead to confusion with the term "free range", which does not describe exactly what the animals eat.

Corn stover consists of the leaves, stalks, and cobs of maize (corn) plants left in a field after harvest. Such stover makes up about half of the yield of a corn crop and is similar to straw from other cereal grasses; in Britain it is sometimes called corn straw. Corn stover is a very common agricultural product in areas of large amounts of corn production. As well as the non-grain part of harvested corn, the stover can also contain other weeds and grasses. Field corn and sweet corn, two different types of maize, have relatively similar corn stover.

Equine nutrition Feeding of domesticated equines such as horses, ponies, mules, and donkeys.

Equine nutrition is the feeding of horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, and other equines. Correct and balanced nutrition is a critical component of proper horse care.

Wheat middlings are the product of the wheat milling process that is not flour. A good source of protein, fiber, phosphorus, and other nutrients, they are used to produce foods like pasta, breakfast cereals, puddings, and couscous for humans, as well as fodder for livestock and pets. They are also being researched for use as a biofuel.

Animal feed Food for various animals

Animal feed is food given to domestic animals, especially livestock, in the course of animal husbandry. There are two basic types: fodder and forage. Used alone, the word feed more often refers to fodder. Animal feed is an important input to animal agriculture, and is frequently the main cost of the raising animals. Farms typically try to reduce cost for this food, by growing their own, grazing animals, or supplementing expensive feeds with substitutes, such as food waste like spent grain from beer brewing.

The environmental impact of meat production varies because of the wide variety of agricultural practices employed around the world. All agricultural practices have been found to have a variety of effects on the environment. Some of the environmental effects that have been associated with meat production are pollution through fossil fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste, and water and land consumption. Meat is obtained through a variety of methods, including organic farming, free range farming, intensive livestock production, subsistence agriculture, hunting, and fishing.

<i>Chloris gayana</i> Species of grass

Chloris gayana is a species of grass known by the common name Rhodes grass. It is native to Africa but it can be found throughout the tropical and subtropical world as a naturalized species.

<i>Erythrina edulis</i> Species of tree

Erythrina edulis (basul) is a nitrogen fixing tree that is native to the Andean region from western Venezuela to southern Bolivia. Nowadays it is known in Venezuela as "frijol mompás", in Bolivia, Peru and Northwest Argentina as "psonay", "pajuro", "sachaporoto del basul" or "poroto del sacha", in Colombia as "chachafruto", "balú", "baluy" or "sachaporoto" and in Ecuador as "guato". Although it is widely known, it is not commonly cultivated. Future research is needed, especially in agroforestry. Basul is a legume and so it produces protein-rich beans covered in pods which can be used for human or animal nutrition. The leaves and branches can be used as fodder. Besides the agricultural aspects, Erythrina edulis can also be used as a fence plant.

There are many systems of classification of crops for example commercial, taxonomical and agricultural among the agriculture classification of corrupt crops is most widely accepted because it is commonly it covers the taxonomical and commercial and other aspects.

Staple food Food that is eaten routinely and considered a dominant portion of a standard diet

A staple food, food staple, or simply a staple, is a food that is eaten often and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a standard diet for a given person or group of people, supplying a large fraction of energy needs and generally forming a significant proportion of the intake of other nutrients as well. A staple food of a specific society may be eaten as often as every day or every meal, and most people live on a diet based on just a small number of food staples. Specific staples vary from place to place, but typically are inexpensive or readily available foods that supply one or more of the macronutrients and micronutrients needed for survival and health: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Typical examples include tubers and roots, grains, legumes, and seeds. Among them, cereals, legumes, tubers and roots account for about 90% of the world's food calories intake.

Feed manufacturing

Feed manufacturing refers to the process of producing animal feed from raw agricultural products. Fodder produced by manufacturing is formulated to meet specific animal nutrition requirements for different species of animals at different life stages. According to the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), there are four basic steps:

  1. Receive raw ingredients: Feed mills receive raw ingredients from suppliers. Upon arrival, the ingredients are weighed, tested and analyzed for various nutrients and to ensure their quality and safety.
  2. Create a formula: Nutritionists work side by side with scientists to formulate nutritionally sound and balanced diets for livestock, poultry, aquaculture and pets. This is a complex process, as every species has different nutritional requirements.
  3. Mix ingredients: Once the formula is determined, the mill mixes the ingredients to create a finished product.
  4. Package and label: Manufacturers determine the best way to ship the product. If it is prepared for retail, it will be "bagged and tagged," or placed into a bag with a label that includes the product's purpose, ingredients and instructions. If the product is prepared for commercial use, it will be shipped in bulk.

This glossary of agriculture is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in agriculture, its sub-disciplines, and related fields. For other glossaries relevant to agricultural science, see Glossary of biology, Glossary of ecology, Glossary of environmental science, and Glossary of botany.


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  9. Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (2018). Report on the Bush-to-Feed Pilot Projet in the African Wild Dog Community Forest.
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  12. Sneath, Roger; McIntosh, Felicity (October 2003). Review of Hydroponic Fodder Production for Beef Cattle. Meat & Livestock Australia Limited. p. 15. ISBN   1740365038 . Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  13. Sneath, Roger; McIntosh, Felicity (October 2003). Review of Hydroponic Fodder Production for Beef Cattle. Meat & Livestock Australia Limited. ISBN   1740365038 . Retrieved 7 June 2018. Hydroponic sprouts may have profitable application in intensive, small-scale livestock situations with high value outputs, where land and alternative feed costs are high, and where the quality changes (eg less starch, more lysine, vitamins, etc) due to sprouting are advantageous to the particular livestock.

Further reading