Grains and seeds
Grains are seeds from cereal plants, members of the grass family called Graminaea. Cereal grains are essentially carbohydrates, the main component of the dry matter being starch, which is concentrated on the endosperm. All cereal crops are annuals (Kharif). By- products of harvested grains as chaff, stover and straw are utilized as low quality forages for ruminant animals. Moreover, many of the grains are milled or processed in some manner thereby creating additional by-products which can be fed to livestock with varying degrees of nutritive values. In India except for poultry, swine and lactating dairy animals, grains are not usually fed for livestock production, because of high cost due to high demand by human beings.
The crude protein content of grains and seeds varies between 8-12%, which again is deficient in lysine and methionine. The oil which is mostly present in the embryo is highest in oats (4-6%) and lowest in wheat (1-2%). Cereal oils are unsaturated, the main fatty acids being linoleic and oleic and because of this, the cereals tend to become rancid quickly and also produces soft body fat in non-ruminants. The crude fibre content of harvested grain is highest in oats and rice, which contain a husk or hull formed from the inner and outer paleae and is lowest in the naked grains like wheat and maize. All cereals are deficient in vitamin D and calcium, but are moderately rich in phosphorus and vitamin E.