Essential Oils and Cattle
We bet you’ve never heard “essential oils and cattle” used in the same sentence. More and more in agriculture, scientists find that what’s good for the goose (humans) may also be good for the gander (livestock) when it comes to the use of essential oils. Essential oils have gained traction in the agriculture industry as a crucial component of healthy herd diets. Regular use of precise essential oil blends may reduce farmers’ reliance on antibiotics in pets, small herds on hobby farms, and massive beef and dairy operations. At New Heritage Feed Co, we remain on the leading edge of research and new trends in holistic feeding practices that naturally promote your herd’s comprehensive wellness. Visit our website to find out more about our Sweet Calf Starter, Dairy Beef Grower, and Beef Finisher feed varieties. They are all made with our wellness-promoting proprietary essential oil blend for cattle.
What is an Essential Oil?Essential oils come from plants, specifically the roots, stems, leaves, needles, rind, or seeds. Fun fact: the common herbs and spices you find in your kitchen can typically be found in essential oil form as well. Getting the essential oils from select plants involves steam extraction from a still, or expeller, or “cold” pressing (with citrus rinds.) After steam extraction, plant oils are mixed with water in collecting vessels. The oil separates from the condensed steam and floats on the water surface for easy collection for bottling or blending. Essential oils have enjoyed popularity for centuries in homeopathic healing, and “folk” healing. Also, they lend aroma to soap, bathwater, or for adding flavor to cooking. The Egyptians get credit for the earliest documented use of essential oils as far back as 3000 BC.
Essential Oil Varieties Used in AgricultureEssential oils and cattle come together when promoting herd health. Disease resistance, animal growth, feed conversion ratio, meat color, and meat oxidative status are all influenceable. Several varieties of essential oil have proven to have antibacterial and other health and productivity-promoting properties. These varieties include:
- Cloves and Cinnamon: Have an antimicrobial effect in the rumen, as well as being potent antioxidants
- Thyme: Stimulates the digestive system and may promote animal growth and productivity
- Vanilla: May improve feed intake and efficiency
- Oregano: Has documented antibacterial and antimicrobial properties