Feeding Sunflowers to Livestock

Cattle producers can replace a part of the traditional diet of barley grain/silage with sunflower seeds to enhance conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) content in milk and meat for its positive health benefits.

Feeding whole sunflower seeds to dairy cattle as a way to increase the energy content of the diet of high-producing dairy cows may boost milk production by 3-5%.  This is similar to the increase that can be expected from other feeding sources like soybeans, cottonseed, tallow, or dry fat products.  This alternative to cattle feed can provide Sunflower growers with an alternative market outlet for sunflower seeds, in times of low prices or damaged seeds.

Sunflower seeds provide high-energy feed for livestock due to their high fat content. One pound of fat contains 2.25 times as much energy as one pound of carbohydrates from feed grain or forages.