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A Livestock Grain Mill Can Be Used for All Livestock, Even Poultry

If you have a livestock operation, you should have a grain mill. It doesn't matter the scale, and it doesn't matter the livestock. Here's how having a grain mill can improve the quality of life for your animals and the number of returns from your livestock operation.


Cattle

The cattle industry is the largest livestock market in the US, worth over $66 billion per year. As a result, we have done a lot of research into how grain mills can improve the cattle industry.

While there is some hype and value to grass-fed beef, most Americans prefer grain-fed beef. So it's essential to find out how to optimize grain feeding for your cattle.


By improving access to nutrition, grain mills can increase the speed at which cows grow. A roller mill is efficient: it gives you more gain from your grain while reducing dust; thus, your cows stay healthy. Because a roller mill can also save you time and money, it leads to increased profitability for your cattle operation. Although there is an economy of scale, large and small cattle operations can benefit from a roller mill.


Pigs

Although pigs, not being ruminants, want a more varied diet than cattle, horses, and sheep, they still benefit from a grain-based diet. Their inability to ruminate the grain means they rely even more on the grain processing to make it palatable for them. Before feeding to pigs, it is essential to process most grains with hard seed coats, like sorghum, barley, and triticale. However, even corn, which lacks a hard seed coat, becomes more digestible for pigs if processed.

What is the best grain mill for swine feed? It depends on how you are feeding your hogs. If you are providing it in mash form, it's best to use a combination of a roller mill and a hammer mill. However, if you are going to pelletize the grain, it's best to use a roller mill. This method improves the uniformity of particle size and helps produce better pellets.


Horses

Horses are different from other livestock because they are not raised for food but for companionship and performance. Therefore, there's even more emphasis on maintaining a high quality of life for the animals. Horse feed emphasizes not just the nutritional content but how much the animals enjoy the food.


Of course, like other ruminants, horses need to be fed chiefly roughage, with grains making up the concentrate portion of their diet. Oats remain the most popular grain to feed to horses. Oats can be fed whole or processed. Processing oats for horses usually means rolling them. Barley is another popular grain for horses. Because barley is harder than oats, it should be run through a roller mill before feeding horses. While unprocessed corn can be fed to horses--even on the cob--horses also benefit from cracking the corn with a roller mill before feeding.



Sheep

Sheep are small ruminants that don't require as much concentrate in their diet. Through most of the year, sheep can be maintained on roughage alone in the form of forage if they won’t be expected to breed or produce wool. When forage is insufficient, it can be supplemented with hay and silage. And, of course, it's important to make sure sheep have adequate access to water and minerals.


However, in times of production, it's vital to supply concentrates for additional energy and protein. Grain makes a great source of concentrates. Because grains are more of a supplement for sheep, some recommend not milling grain before feeding. However, as with all animals, milling improves access to nutrients. Just make sure you don't mill them too fine, which can lead to digestive problems. For this reason, a roller mill is better for sheep feed than a hammer mill, which produces more fines.


Poultry

Poultry, like chickens, has different nutrient needs than ruminant animals. In particular, they need a higher proportion of proteins and don't need nearly as much fiber. They don't need roughage, so virtually all their feed should be concentrates.

While there is no shortage of commercial poultry feeds, people often choose to feed their poultry from home-blended diets. The advantage of this is that you can customize it to your birds and your conditions. For example, if your chickens have access to a high number of insects, you won't need to provide them as much protein.


Also, unlike ruminants, chickens don't necessarily benefit from milling grain. They are used to eating whole kernels of grain and have a gullet explicitly designed to break them down using rocks they swallow--it's like their own internal mill! However, there are some excellent reasons to mill grain before feeding it to your chickens:


  • Size

  • Preference

  • Digestibility


Sometimes you have to mill the grain to make it small enough to eat. Small chickens have trouble eating whole corn, for example. Other times, chickens are picky and won't eat whole corn. Milling the corn will make them gobble it up more readily. And while chickens can digest entire grain kernels, it takes more time than digest milled grain. This can slow growth. So, even though it's not strictly necessary, milling your grain can be profitable for your poultry.



Fish

Aquaculture is becoming an increasingly important source of healthy and sustainable fish protein. Like other livestock operations, an aquaculture operation can use grains to help fish gain mass and be ready for harvesting faster. The challenge is that fish diets are often very high in protein and fat density. Aquaculture feeds then often rely on soybean and corn. However, it's sometimes necessary to supplement these with fishmeal, fish oil, and vegetable oils like canola or sunflower seed oil. Using grains in all fish foods starts with milling them.



Optimize Grain Use in Your Livestock Operation

If you are looking to improve the efficiency and profitability of your livestock operation, the first step is adding a grain mill. Automatic Equipment Manufacturing has been helping farmers find the best grain mill for their operation since 1925. Let us help you. Please contact us today to talk about your new livestock roller mill from Automatic Equipment Manufacturing.

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