Animal Feed and Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202

Learn about, understand and manage animal feeding

In this course, you'll evaluate different animal foods and food products. Learn the composition of a range of feeds, including pasture, fodder crops, grasses, cereals, seed, and other edible plants. This course also explains the role of proteins, vitamins and minerals in animal diets. It will help you build the skills required to evaluate feeding and select appropriate feeds, including for digestibility and nutritional content, for real life farming situations.

Course Duration: 100 hours

Course Structure

This course is 10 lessons.

  1. Introduction to animal foods
    • Terms and Definitions
    • Groups of Foods
    • Other Terms That Are Used
    • Food Processing Terms
    • Water
  2. Food components: carbohydrates and fats
    • Carbohydrates
    • Carbohydrates as a Source Of Energy
    • Fats and Oils
    • Adipose Tissue Deposits in Animals
    • Fat Deposits in Different Animals
  3. Food components: proteins, minerals, and trace elements
    • Composition of Proteins
    • The Build Up Of Proteins
    • Biological Value of Protein
    • Protein Content of Foods
    • The Function of Protein
    • Feeding Urea to Ruminants
    • Major Minerals
    • Trace Elements
    • Vitamins
  4. Evaluating foods and digestibility
    • Analysis of Feed Stuffs
    • Calculating Digestibility
    • Protein Value
    • Energy Value
    • Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods
  5. Classifying foods: Part A
    • Cereals and Cereal By-Products
    • Brewing By-Products        
    • Grasses, Legumes and Succulents
    • Lucerne
    • Sainfoin
    • Other Succulent Foods
    • Roughage, Hay, Silage and Dried Grass
  6. Classifying foods: Part B
    • Oil and Legume Seeds
    • Oil Seeds and Their Products
    • Legume Seeds
  7. Classifying foods: Part C
    • Fodder Trees and Animal Products
    • Fodder Trees and Shrubs
    • Animal Products
  8. Calculating rations: Part A
    • The Object of Rationing
    • Nutritional Requirements of the Animal
    • Calculating a Maintenance Ration
    • Cattle at Pasture
    • Working Out Rations for a Herd
  9. Calculating rations: Part B
    • Nutrient Requirements for a Dairy Cow
    • Working Out the Total Requirements
    • Feeding a Ration to Meet Nutrient Needs
    • The Dairy Ration
  10. Calculating rations: Part C
    • Ready Mix Feeds
    • Using Protein Contents
    • A Summary of Rationing
    • Further Considerations in Rationing

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How Much Do You Know About Protein?

Proteins are the chemical foundation of all living matter; in other words, of all life. Proteins, together with water, are the material from which plant and animal protoplasm is made. Furthermore, the enzymes, chromosomes, digestive juices and many other important chemicals in animals and plants are protein or protein-like substances.

Proteins are made up of atoms of:

  • Carbon
  • Oxygen
  • Hydrogen
  • Nitrogen

Because proteins are such large, complicated molecules, they are built up, from other molecules called Amino Acids. Amino acids also contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. These are the building blocks of proteins in the same way that a wall is built up of bricks. Amino acids are chemical substances which are crystalline, usually soluble in water and have a very complicated chemical structure.

A typical food protein is built up from twenty-two amino acids although this figure can vary from twenty to twenty five. The question you might ask is "where do amino acids come from?". Plants take up a simple chemical like ammonium nitrate and build this up, firstly, into very complex amino acids and, finally, into proteins. Plants essentially manufacture proteins.

Generally animals can not do this; with the exception of ruminants fed urea (this is discussed in the course). In all other cases, animals obtain proteins by eating plants or other animals.

When amino acids are unused by animals they are broken down and excreted.

They cannot be stored in the way fat can be stored.


Some of the amino acids are called "Essential Amino Acids" because they are vital to the maintenance and production of the body. Every animal species needs a different mix of essential amino acids.

Example - pigs need the following:

  • Arginine  0.20%
  • Histidine  0.20%
  • Isoleucine  0.55%
  • Leucine  0.60%
  • Lysine   0.75%
  • Methionine  0.55%
  • Phenylaline  0.50%
  • Threonine  0.40%
  • Tryptophan  0.13%
  • Valine   0.50%

Of these, the most important in pig nutrition is Lysine. There is a high proportion of this amino acid in the protein of white fish meal and soybean meal. In fact, Lysine is so important in pig nutrition that plant breeders are trying to produce varieties of maize and barley with a high Lysine percentage in their protein.

Food proteins that contain all the essential amino acids are said to have a high biological value. Such foods are mainly animal proteins such as milk, eggs, meat and fish. Food proteins that contain only a few of the essential amino acids are said to have low biological value. These are essentially the vegetable proteins (such as cereals and nuts). Generally, vegetable proteins will be high in some of the essential amino acids, but lacking in others.

The biological value of vegetable protein can be increased by feeding combinations of vegetable proteins that complement each other. For example, if grains and beans are fed together, they will supply all the essential amino acids so that their combined biological value is comparable to an animal protein such as meat. Another solution is to increase the biological value of vegetable protein by feeding it with an animal protein. For example, it is common to feed pigs on cereal meal and skimmed milk - the skim milk provides animal protein which boosts the biological value of the cereal meal. The amino acid requirements of pigs, sheep, cattle and poultry are all different. The requirements also very according to whether the animal is growing, reproducing, giving milk or eggs, etc. Therefore the biological value of the protein is specific to the animal which eats it.

You can see from this, there is a lot to learn about protein alone; if you are to properly manage the feeding of animals.

  • With this course you will lay the foundation for understanding animal feed and nutrition.
  • It is a substantial study program; and has the potential to make a real difference to your animal husbandry skills.
  • To be the best you can though, will take ongoing learning though.

Who Can Benefit From this Course?

  • Farmers
  • Livestock breeders
  • Feed Suppliers 
  • Animal Food and Supplement Manufacturers

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Fee Information (S2)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $781.66  1 x $710.60
B 2 x $416.96  2 x $379.05

Note: Australian prices include GST. 

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