Thursday, February 22, 2007

NRC requirements updated

baby goats in feeder
The National Research Council (NRC) publishes a series of publications on the nutrient requirements of domestic animals. Requirements for energy, protein, minerals, vitamins, and water are defined, based on scientific evidence published in peer-reviewed technical sources.

Feeding standards, developed from nutrient requirements of the animals and nutrient composition of feedstuffs, provide readers with the knowledge and means to adopt proper feeding practices. Periodic updating of these publications is needed as new research information accumulates and new needs surface.

Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants: Sheep, Goats, Cervids, and New World Camelids (2007) combines revisions of The Nutrient Requirements of Sheep (1985) and The Nutrient Requirements of Goats (1981), with considerations of other small ruminants and ruminant-like species addressed for the first time.

The sheep portions update the 1985 edition in that a greater range in body size, litter size, and milk production were considered. This edition updates the requirements of sheep based on recent research and a need to consider higher levels of productivity by larger and improved genotypes.

The quality and accuracy in the goat section greatly exceed those contained in the first edition because of the large amount of research efforts invested since the document was first published in 1981. However, many requirement issues in minerals and vitamins have not been resolved for goats. Rather, requirements were estimated from values derived for sheep and cattle studies.

Note: Dr. Brian J. Bequette, University of Maryland Animal Scientist, served on the committee to revise the nutrient requirements for small ruminants.