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Nuts and Nut Mixtures for Dairy Cattle

R. S. Adams, Penn State Emeritus Professor of Dairy Science
814-863-3917

Some manufacturers and processors of candy and nuts have waste nuts available for feeding as prices that may make them economical sources of nutrients when feed markets are high. It is important to test various batches of these nuts for usual nutrient content, including minerals and fat. This is especially true with nut mixtures.

Protein and fat content varies widely among the various kinds of nuts. For example, one mixture being purchased by some dairymen contains about 25 percent crude protein and 40 percent fat. Peanuts without shells run about 28 percent protein and 45 percent fat on an as fed basis while others may have appreciably more or less protein or fat. Any salt on the nuts should not be of concern at recommended levels of nut intake.

Because of relatively high fat content of nuts, the amount fed to dairy cows should be limited to 3 to 4 lb per head daily. Otherwise fat toxicity may result in reduced dry matter intakes depressed milk fat test and lower production, or may adversely affect health. If fat or high fat ingredients are used, care should be take to keep the fat content in the total ration dry matter under 4 to 6 percent. Preferably, least-cost formulation should be used in deciding if nuts, other ingredients or feeds should enter a well-balanced ration. Such service is available from dairy science extension at Penn State, some county extension office, and various industry people or consultants.

Source: R. S. Adams Editor: Charlotte Murphy Ag Information Services -- News & Publications, Penn State

July 23, 1997
Author: Richard S. Adams, Emeritus, Professor of Dairy Science

Virginia Ishler, Program Assistant of Dairy and Animal Science Penn State
324 Henning Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-3912
August 4, 1998