Vitamin A in Beef Cattle

Feb 05, 2020

Beef Cattle Eating Hay in a Field

When thinking about the development and health of your cattle you need to be thinking about vitamins. Unlike some B Vitamins that cows can produce in the rumen on their own, Vitamin A is essential to cattle and is a big priority. There are several things that it does for our bovine friends:
  • Vision
  • Maintenance of epithelial tissue
  • Mucous membranes
  • Bone development
  • Immune function
Cattle consume vitamin A through the plants they eat. They store vitamin A in their liver. On wet years the forage they consume will be higher in vitamin A than normal. On dry years the forage they consume will be lower in vitamin A.

When harvesting any type of plant it is important to know that the more green and lush that the plant is, then the more vitamin A rich it is. As the plant beginnings to dry up and lose its color, more of the vitamin A is lost. This is why it is important to put up your hay as soon as you can. Waiting and letting the hay sit over long periods of time in the hot summer sun will drain the vitamin A more and more out of it.
If your cattle become deficient in vitamin A, then you must add vitamin A to their feed, water, or salt. If you keep feed with vitamin A in it for a prolonged amount of time then the Vitamin A in it will degrade.

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