The Role of Adding Vitamins to Feed in an Agricultural Setting

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It has become increasingly common for vitamins to be added to feed in agricultural settings. Depending upon the type of vitamin, the role of its addition can vary on a case-by-case basis. One of the most popular vitamins to add to feed is vitamin C and vitamin E. Depending upon how the vitamins are delivered their overall efficacy and utility can range from significant to nonexistent.

Many animals produce a form of vitamin C naturally. For example, poultry is synthesized in chickens by the kidneys. Unfortunately, environmental factors can dramatically affect whether or not these animals are actually getting enough vitamin C to remain healthy. As a result, adding vitamins to feed are not inherently useful however can be important based upon the environmental settings surrounding agricultural production.

A lack of vitamin C in livestock can create a myriad of problems. For example, during heat stress, chickens do not produce enough vitamin C to meet the verge requirements. As a result, they suffer from poor immunity, reduced fertility, increased mortality rate, diminished speed intake, and weight loss. The only way to ensure these birds have enough vitamin C to function properly is by adding it to their feed.

In most cases, additional vitamins do not need to be added to feed and less the animals find themselves in one of a number of stress conditions. Commonly accepted stress conditions include vaccination, deworming, transportation, climatic disturbances, disease, and regular handling. Over the course of regular livestock maintenance, and animal will likely deal with all of these stress conditions multiple times throughout their life. Vitamins can also be added to feed as a performance booster although this should be done sporadically rather than on a daily basis. By increasing vitamin intake, livestock can see improved health, a boost and immunity, increase growth, and improved body weight.

Along with traditional livestock, vitamin C and vitamin E have proven to be equally beneficial for aquaculture animals such as fish and shrimp. Numerous studies have shown that vitamin E can significantly boost the immune mechanisms in shrimp and fish.

When choosing vitamins for agriculture or aquaculture use it is important to select a product which offers stable vitamins with an antioxidant activity that can be maintained over 12 months. This will make it easier to use on a large scale agricultural site. It also has shown to provide faster efficacy than other commercially available vitamin C products. Only with a high level of stability in digestive organs can vitamin C become useful for animals.