potato nutrition



Potatoes are relatively high in feed value and can be used as an energy source for livestock. The protein found in potatoes is relatively easy to digest and utilize. On a per-land unit or per-growing-time unit, potatoes produce more energy and protein than any other crop. The potato markets demand a high-quality potato, based on tuber characteristics as starch and sugar content, size and shape, and blemishes and defects. These characteristics may not have a major effect on nutrition or edibility; however, many tubers may not meet consumer preferences and may be diverted to livestock feed, especially in years of over-production. The purpose here is to evaluate potato’s value as a feed for cattle, sheep and hogs, and to describe advantages and potential problems (Pavlista and Rush, 2002).


In North America, most potatoes are white-fleshed, meaning the core (inside, meat) is white. These are referred to as Irish white potatoes. They also may be referred to as red, russet (tan to brown with a rough textured skin) or white (cream to light tan with a smooth textured skin), based on their skin color (Pavlista, 1997a). These three types of potato differ in their dry matter (DM) content: reds, used for salads, will have as low as 15 percent dry matter (specific gravity = 1.055) while round whites, used for chips, will have as high as a 25 percent dry matter content (specific gravity = 1.103). For the purposes of comparative calculations, we will model after a typical russet-type baking potato with a dry matter content of 20 percent and a specific gravity of 1.079 (Pavlista, 1997b).

Potatoes are a nutrient-dense crop and an excellent source of carbohydrates, digestible proteins and essential amino acids (Table 1). Potatoes are high in potassium but relatively low in calcium and phosphorus. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and B-complex but are low in vitamins A and D.


  • National Research Council. 1984. Nutrient requirements of beef cattle. 6th Edition. National Academy Press.
  • Pavlista, A.D. 1997a. Potato types: their characteristics and uses. American Biology Teacher 59:26-29.
  • Pavlista, A.D. 1997b. Potato types & characteristics: Laboratory Exercises. American Biology Teacher 59:30-34.
  • Pavlista, A.D. and I.G. Rush. 2002. Balue of Potatoes for Feeding Livestock. University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension #152.


Using Potato as Livestock Feed