When considering potential protein sources for both humans and animals, it’s critical to consider the crops rich in protein. Protein crops are those crops that have good levels of protein, including grains and oilseeds. These are particularly important for meeting the needs of farm animals, for whom protein is a crucial part of their daily diet. The demand for protein crops only continues to grow year after year, and farmers often struggle to keep up with the demand for these crops. Let’s take a look at what some of the most common protein crops are and the high protein fodder crops which could be used more in the future to keep farm animals healthy and strong.
What is Crops Production?
Crop production is a common practice within agriculture that is used to grow crops for both food and fiber. When discussing crop production, we also refer to the feed sources which are needed to produce and maintain these crops. Crop production can be a lengthy process, which starts by preparing the soil before sowing the seeds. From there, irrigation and the application of fertilizers ensure the crops remain in top condition no matter the challenging weather conditions they may face. Protecting and harvesting crops are two of the biggest challenges for farmers, especially with the recent changes we’ve experienced to our climate. Once the crops are harvested, they need to be stored and preserved before finally becoming the source of protein that’s needed to feed our growing population of animals and humans.
Harvesting requires a lot of practice for farmers to minimize the loss of crops during this process. When farmers are inexperienced or make errors during this process, this can ruin a huge amount of the crops. On top of that, proper storage is critical for saving all of the farmer’s hard work, as this can also destroy the high protein crops when proper pest control isn’t in place. The storage conditions need to be fit for the purpose of the crops, which is why it takes so much knowledge and experience to work within this industry. Harvesting takes into account the crop variety, season, and maturity period. Crops need to be examined regularly to avoid damage from animals and birds and ensure the crops remain in perfect condition until they are ready to be harvested and complete the crops production cycle.
High Protein Fodder Crops
When we look at the best high protein fodder crops, we are considering the crops which would be best for dairy cattle. This ensures that the animals receive the high-quality protein they need and helps your business to be successful in the long run. Low protein wheat is something that more farmers are trying to avoid now, and instead, they are opting to grow high protein crops instead. It’s higher in carbohydrates, which is why farmers need to look into high-protein fodder crops for the best results.
Teff grass protein is an excellent example of a good protein crop, with the protein content ranging from between 12 to 17 percent. This will depend on the growth stage and its maturity, but it’s an excellent consideration for farmers. When compared to common grass hay species, you’ll find that protein levels are much higher. It can also be harvested to offer both a low or high-calorie content, so it is suitable for use in a wide range of situations.
Cowpea protein should also be considered when looking at high protein fodder crops. It is an annual herbaceous legume, and it is often associated with farming in Africa and Asia. It is very tolerant to both sandy soil and low rainfall, making it an excellent crop for hot and dry weather conditions. These types of conditions can make growing high protein crops almost impossible at times but offer a high protein content and a good source of calories. This crop is mainly used to complement a diet that’s high in cereals and will help boost the intake of minerals and vitamins that are often lacking in this type of food.
Cowpea is considered a good option for economically poorer countries, which is why we often see Nigeria and Niger listed as the top producers of these crops. In fact, these two countries alone account for roughly 66% of the world’s cowpea production. Animal protein sources can be very cost-prohibitive for farmers and human diets, but with the increase in interest in protein-rich crops, it’s likely we’ll have new solutions to feed our growing population. The nutritional composition must always be considered when adding more protein crops to an animal or human’s diet to ensure they enjoy a well-rounded and balanced diet.
Protein crops are beginning to gain more attention with farmers worldwide, and they follow the typical crop production cycle that other crops would also use. By finding crops that are rich in protein, farmers can help to keep their cattle strong and healthy by boosting their protein intake. Of course, they must also consider any other advantages and disadvantages of these crops before switching up their diet. By doing this, farmers can ensure they are offering their animals the balanced diet that’s necessary for the future success of their business.