Basal ration is a minimal diet that contains only those
things that are essential or absolutely needed. This
typically involves providing the body with the energy it
needs to function (in the form of sugars and starch) but
it is lacking in one or more vitamins. The term is not
typically applied to human diets but is used in reference
to animal nutrition. A good example would be feeding
cows with grains such as corn, oats, wheat, etc., or
products made from these grains.
Alfalfa from the basal ration diet.
Other forms of basal rations include fermented straw and alfalfa hay (separate). The
amount of fiber in a basal ration is not supposed to be greater than 18%. The protein
content is greater than 16%. Some farmers add supplements to the basal ration to meet
the nutritional needs of the animal.
A ration of food is the amount provided over a 24-hour time period. It is estimated that
between 60 to 90% of animal feeds are basal rations. Unlike other types of feeds, basal
feeds contain sources of energy that are easily digestible.
Basal ration comes from the Latin word “basis” meaning “foundation” and the Latin word
“rationem” meaning “proportion.” Put the words together and you get “foundation