VitaFerm Fly Control Options

One of the greatest advantages that cattlemen still have is being able to select the management practices that work best for their situation. It has always been important to BioZyme® that we offer products that can be used by a wide array of cattlemen to fit their specific production needs. As spring approaches, and you begin to think about your fly control needs, BioZyme offers several different VitaFerm® mineral products.

Altosid® IGR Feed-Thru is a popular option to prevent the breeding of horn flies in the manure of treated cattle. However, for this product to be most effective, it should be used 30 days prior to the last frost. Often our team will hear from producers that are still seeing flies when using IGR. You must remember that IGR is for the management of horn flies and you may be seeing other fly species. Also, it is extremely important that mineral intake is at the appropriate level in order for that cow to get the correct amount of IGR.

BioZyme offers mineral options with fly control in both the VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® and VitaFerm® HEAT product lines. Both of these mineral lines contain organic chelated minerals, and Amaferm®, a natural prebiotic that increases digestibility, however these two brands target different production phases.

VitaFerm Concept•Aid is designed to be fed 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding. VitaFerm Concept•Aid 5/S AUREO 3G IGR and VitaFerm Concept•Aid 5/S IGR both contain IGR to prevent the breeding of horn flies in the manure of treated cattle. It should be noted though, that the former product does contain AUREO 3G (CTC), which requires a VFD through your veterinarian. Now is the time to talk with your veterinarian and local feed store to ensure you can work this product into your management program. For more details on the benefits of IGR and the improvements in gain and profit, visit www.vitaferm.com/successful-horn-fly-control-using-igr/. Research has shown that the irritation and reduced milk intake from horn fly infestation can cause 20-25 pounds lower weaning weights as compared to cows treated with Altosid® IGR.

If you are looking to steer clear of a VFD or interested in a natural fly control product, we recommend our VitaFerm HEAT products. VitaFerm HEAT reduces heat stress during temperatures of 70 degrees and above, or anytime cattle are grazing fescue. From a fly control standpoint, VitaFerm HEAT includes garlic, a natural insect repellent. With this product, you will still see flies and insects hovering around your cattle, but they will not be making contact with their hide. For those producers interested in using garlic as a fly control option but are still needing a product with CTC for Anaplasmosis, we offer VitaFerm® HEAT AUREO 3G, however, it does require a VFD through your veterinarian.

Regardless of the route you choose, combining a fly control product with Amaferm will ensure that your cattle see maximum performance and gains during spring and summer grazing season.

Tips to Reduce and Handle Heat in Your Stock

Warmer temperatures are quickly approaching, and that means producers should start considering how to help their animals handle the heat. Heat stress is almost inevitable, but some management practices can be implemented to help animals better cope with rising temperatures.

All mammals regulate their internal body temperature involuntarily. Heat stress occurs when the animal’s ability to self-regulate and lower core body temperature is overwhelmed and the animal’s performance and/or health is compromised.

Signs of heat stress:

  • Bunching in the shade
  • Excessive salivation
  • Foam around the mouth
  • Panting
  • Lack of coordination or trembling

Effects of heat stress:

  • Reduced feed intake and weight gain
  • Poor breeding efficiency
  • Lower milk production
  • Increased disease susceptibility
  • Death in severe cases

Being proactive is the best approach to helping animals deal with heat stress. Having a solid management plan in place to combat heat stress could play a crucial role in an operation’s ability to maintain animal performance during periods of increased heat. Some management options include:

Shade: Temperature can be lowered by providing areas where animals can get out of direct sunlight.

Improved ventilation: Providing fans or allowing for adequate air movement helps alleviate heat stress.

Clean, cool drinking water: Water is necessary to keep the animal’s core body temperature within normal limits. Providing cool water will also help cool the animal’s core.

Wetting: Gradually wetting an animal with cool water from sprinklers or hoses is an effective way to cool an animal suffering from heat stress. Wetting the ground can also cool the area where animals lay and reduce the effects of heat stress.

Timing of feeding: By moving the animal’s feeding time to late afternoon or evening will allow rumen fermentation (which creates heat) to take place during cooler temperatures.

It is nothing new that BioZyme® is committed to improving the well-being of animals through nutrition. To help our customers better manage heat stress within their herds, we have developed two products that specifically address heat abatement; VitaFerm® HEAT and Sure Champ® Climate Control Paste. These products contain an extract that helps livestock handle heat stress by lowering core body temperature in a safe, fast, and natural way. Not to mention, the Amaferm® advantage found in both these products is research-proven to lower body temperature.

4 Times to Use Vitalize Equine Recovery Paste

Vitalize® Equine Recovery Paste with the Amaferm® advantage contains the ideal balance of vitamins, organic trace minerals, amino acids, anti-oxidants, MOS and Amaferm for maximum support of immune function and stress recovery. Though the times to feed it are limitless, here are four times we recommend it most.

At the First Sign of Digestive Upset
Digestive upset or colic can happen for no apparent reason. If your horse is displaying signs of abdominal pain, diarrhea or general discomfort, administer Recovery Paste immediately.

Hauling
Hauling a horse can be a very stressful experience. In fact, on average a horse loses 6 to 8 pounds per hour of travel. To lessen the negative impact, administer Recovery Paste every four to six hours while hauling.

Antibiotics
By nature, antibiotics deplete both the good and bad microbes in the gut making probiotics an impractical option. Amaferm is a prebiotic and is research-proven to stimulate beneficial gut microbes, even in the presence of antibiotics, aiding in a speedy recovery. Administer Recovery Paste daily while feeding antibiotics and in the days following antibiotic treatment.

Showing
If you’ve ever had butterflies in your stomach, you may know firsthand the way your horse is feeling while walking up to the show ring. The stress of showing can have profound, negative impacts on the gut. To improve your horse’s performance and maintain a good gut feeling, administer Recovery Paste two to four hours before showing. For an especially nervous or anxious horse, you can also give paste the night before and after showing.

Tried and True and a Couple of New Reasons to Feed Amaferm

With nearly 65 years of history, feeding Amaferm® has made raising livestock better. We often rely on past accomplishments to promote and use a product like Amaferm. The truth is, even though Amaferm has been successfully used for decades, there are new and exciting reasons to promote and use Amaferm daily.

Tried and True Reasons

From the beginning, livestock producers have noted increased weight gains, milk production and improved feed efficiency. Research was conducted in the 1980s and ‘90s to explain “how and why” livestock operations were experiencing these benefits. Results indicated Amaferm promoted fungal branching, which allows more bacteria to attach to feed particles. Amaferm contained enzymes and other compounds that promoted both bacterial and fungi growth. Additionally, it was determined Amaferm increased the number of bacteria living in the gut, whether they were passed from the rumen to the small intestine or if they resided in the hind gut. The outcome from gut microbial growth was an increase of 34% in VFA production, forage NDF digestibility of 17% and improved total diet digestibility of 9%. Trials indicated dairy cows responded to Amaferm with a 4 to 5% increase in milk production or growing cattle with 9% increase in gain. When compared to the cost of other technologies used for these same improvements in forage digestibility and animal performance, Amaferm was found to have one of very best return on investment.

And A Couple of New Reasons

Over the past five years, BioZyme® has continued its pledge to discover the benefits of including Amaferm in livestock diets. Producers have consistently given BioZyme testimonials highlighting health, diet adaptation and the ability to maintain feed intake. These testimonials from customers and dealers assist BioZyme in directing research protocols that advance the building of its industry-leading research library.

Last year, University of Tennessee-Martin faculty, along with ASM Ben Neale, solidified the Amaferm advantage with receiving and starting calf feeding programs. They studied the advantage of using the one-two punch of Amaferm as recommended by the Gain Smart™ Stocker program (Vita Charge Cattle Drench and Vita Charge Stress Tubs MOS). The cattle responded immediately to receiving Amaferm during the first week and the calves exhibited that advantage by gaining nearly 10 pounds more than their counterparts. These results indicate the calves had better appetites and were more aggressive when coming to the bunk. After three weeks on Vita Charge Stress Tubs the calves were turned out to graze grass paddocks for four weeks. Calves were weighed, and the trial was completed after the seventh week at the unit. The results showed calves started with Vita Charge Cattle Drench and Vita Charge Stress Tubs MOS gained 0.60 pounds per day more, which translated into a 30-pound weight advantage by the end of the 49-day trial. This data enforces the importance of proper nutritional management during the first three weeks after calves are shipped or weaned and that Amaferm is an essential part of an economically successful starter program.

Several customers have asked if Amaferm is effective with cattle diets that contain ionophores. In a multi-year ongoing study being implemented at The Ohio State University, researchers are providing positive results when using Amaferm in corn silage-based, feedlot receiving diets containing Rumensin and good bunk management. During the first two weeks of starting calves, average daily gain of Amaferm fed calves was 1.23 pounds per day as compared to controls gaining 0.62 pounds per day. The ability of the Amaferm treatments to result in greater average daily gain indicates there was less metabolic stress, and greater diet digestibility during the first weeks in the feedlot. The importance to cattle feeders is they can achieve greater, more efficient diets containing ionophores by simply adding Amaferm to the diet.

The bottom line is Amaferm continues to provide livestock feeders the opportunity to make the animals perform and grow faster as well as be more efficient and profitable. The old and the new, the tried and the true, Amaferm was discovered on added animal performance and the story continues to unfold of the added benefits of including Amaferm in the future.

Manage the Cattle for the Markets

In today’s market, cattle producers need to take advantage of every opportunity to increase the value and profit of their calves. Universities and cattle services have been reporting the economic effects of good and bad management practices for decades. One early report is a 1986 extension publication highlighting a sale barn survey that focused on the impact of selected characteristics on feeder cattle prices. Since then, numerous reports have been released to verify the difference in the value of good versus mismanaged calves. Using best management practices for genetics, nutrition and health is the best way to increase your calves’ value at marketing. When the cattle cycle dips, producers shouldn’t stop using these best management practices.

Cattle inherit the ability to grow and convert feed resources into highly valuable carcasses. Using proper nutrition, one can set calves up to make sure they reach their genetic potential. For example, recent studies have shown that proper nutrition during the last 90 days of pregnancy greatly influences the resulting calf crop’s performance. Meeting the needs of gestating cows, or fetal programming, is a powerful tool. Satisfying the cow herd’s requirements during pregnancy for energy, protein, vitamins and minerals has been shown to increase colostrum intake and calf health (reduced incidences of scours), weaning weight (by 40+ pounds), replacement herd fertility (up to 15% more pregnancies), feedlot performance, carcass quality grade (near 10% greater Choice carcasses)… the list goes on and on. Truly, the cow-calf producer is “large and in charge” of the lifetime performance of calves, often before those calves are even born.

Maximizing forage digestion during late pregnancy is an important part of fetal programming. There are several complementary management practices that can get the most nutrition out of primarily forage cow diets. For example, Amaferm®, a prebiotic included in all VitaFerm® products, enhances forage digestibility elevating the energy and protein of essentially all classes of forages. Providing protein supplements can further increase forage intake and allow cows to maximize their utilization of forages to meet their nutritional needs. Complementing with minerals, trace minerals and vitamin supplements completes the feeding program. Inclusion of complete mineral supplements give cattlemen the confidence their cow herds will remain fertile and healthy.

Well-managed calves give an operation the option of taking advantage of a variety of marketing opportunities. Sale barn and auction sales price analyses over the past three decades have repeatedly shown the value advantages of good management practices. Timely castration, dehorning, and vaccinations, along with maintaining the correct flesh and health have constantly demanded premium prices. Calves managed correctly continue to meet marketing opportunities for maximum profits as they develop, giving owners multiple selling opportunities from the time they are weaned until they are sold to packers.

Successfully raising and marketing calves is a system combining many elements of good management practices. Don’t stop using the best management practices along with solid supplementation programs during a down market. These two elements will help producers reach maximum profit potential. By utilizing VitaFerm supplements, producers can enhance forage digestion, providing needed minerals and vitamins, and maximize a cow herd’s potential and profit.

When Times Get Tough…Don’t Stop

Supplementation programs will always be important building blocks for cow herd nutrition programs. During “belt tightening” times, getting the most bang for your buck becomes even more critical when selecting which, how much and what supplements to feed. It has been repeatedly proven that proper mineral, feed additive and protein supplementation will economically increase beef production. Supplementation can increase the pounds of calves weaned through improved reproduction and by increased weight gains.

Cases in point:

  • Positive fetal programming increases calf weight gains, carcass premiums and reproductive rates.
  • Improved body condition score lends to increased pregnancy rates.
  • Higher fertility equates to more pounds weaned per cow exposed.
  • Increased immunity leads to decreased sickness.

For decades producers have known that supplementing gestating cow diets with the trace mineral zinc has reduced the number of retained placentas. The 2010 Beef Improvement Federation proceedings indicated that organic trace mineral supplementation can improve weaning weight more than 40 pounds, and Oregon research has also supported a substantial weaning weight advantage (nearly 50 pounds). A 2016 Journal of Animal Science article reported the treatment for bovine respiratory disease in feedlot calves was reduced by 50% when their mothers were supplemented in the last trimester with organic trace minerals. Research continually shows that increasing forage digestion unlocks dietary energy and protein that allow cows to increase body condition score, return to estrus and improve pregnancy rates.

If we would shop for supplements like we shop for television viewing packages, we would be looking for bundles of service, packages that put several items together for the best value. It should be the same with nutritional supplements. VitaFerm® supplements are formulated to address several needs at once. Amaferm®, found in all VitaFerm products, is a natural feed additive that acts as a prebiotic and increases forage digestibility. The increase in digestibility lowers the dependency on the amount of protein supplement often required and increases the energy and protein derived from the diet. VitaFerm supplements contain the appropriate type and amount of mineral, organic trace mineral and vitamin fortifications to balance diets; ensuring cow herds will remain productive, healthy and fertile. VitaFerm products give producers a cost effective “bundled” supplement program.

The cow-calf operations that continue using solid supplementation programs, regardless of the state of the cattle market, will be making management decisions that produce profits. Don’t stop supplementation because you think it will save you money down the road. By utilizing VitaFerm supplements, producers can enhance forage digestion, provide needed minerals and vitamins, and maximize a cow herd’s potential and profit.

The Important of Mineral Supplementation During Breeding Season

In a beef herd, profitability is determined by several factors, including the total weight of calves sold, cost of maintaining the cow herd, percentage of cows bred that wean a calf, and the price received for calves. The most critical times to influence these factors are the two months prior to calving and through breeding. A cow’s nutrition during this critical stage of production also has a direct impact on the ability of the cow to rebreed in a timely manner.

Failure to manage the nutrition of the cow herd during these critical times can hurt productivity, and profitability. Supplementing the herd with important vitamins, minerals and proteins before calving and through breeding has been research-proven to improve a cow’s body condition and conception rates and, in turn, overall calf health and survival rates, making this an important time for supplementation.

“Research by the University of Nebraska with heifer offspring from cows grazing a dormant range, showed that in areas where protein was deficient in the forage, protein supplementation to the pregnant cow in late gestation resulted in heifer offspring that were heavier at weaning, pre-breeding, first pregnancy diagnosis, and before their second breeding season, as well as had greater pregnancy rates and calving 21 days earlier than heifers from non-protein supplemented cows,” said Kevin Glaubius, BioZyme® Director of Nutrition and Technical Sales. “These recent studies clearly show that there are areas where many beef producers lose productivity in the normal production settings that are never measured.”

It is important to make sure feed rations are formulated to meet or exceed the nutritional requirements of the cow during early gestation (roughly the first 60 days). While the particular vitamins and minerals fed during this time are very important, BioZyme stresses to its customers that it is also imperative to ensure that the proper amounts of energy and protein are supplied. These are needed to meet the increased demands during lactation and subsequent breeding.

Energy is probably the most important nutritional consideration in beef cattle production. Cows need energy to maintain milk production and to initiate and maintain pregnancy. Energy requirements increase significantly during the last third of pregnancy and while the cow is producing milk. Protein is the second limiting nutrient in most rations. Without adequate amounts of protein in the diet, daily feed consumption drops off, feed passage rates decrease and overall digestive efficiency declines.

Research has proven that feeding Amaferm, found in BioZyme’s highly fortified Concept•Aid product line, can increase energy production by 16% and microbial protein by 34%. In addition, Concept•Aid is formulated at 250% of nutritional requirements to ensure the highest producing 25% of the cowherd is not nutritionally challenged. Concept•Aid contains proteinated copper, zinc and manganese to ensure maximum availability to the animal.

Mineral supplementation may not replace all of a cow’s winter supplement needs, however, it will reduce energy and protein supplementation costs and the average number of days from calving to rebreeding. Supplementation should increase profit potential, increasing the total pounds of calves weaned  and leave producers more time to focus on their breeding strategies.

Using Cost of Gain to Make Profitable Decisions

History shows that production profitability is closely tied to several key factors, one being cost of gain. Producers can use their records on specific input costs and gain calculations to benchmark their enterprises. Simply, cost of gain can be used to make good business decisions.

Management records indicate that feed costs can account for 50-70% of the cost of producing beef, and should include both purchased and raised feed. The cost of raised feed is computed using the opportunity cost of feed grains, hay, pasture lands and other feedstuffs produced by the ranch and utilized in the cattle growing operation.

Feed per unit of gain (feed efficiency) has remained a very important factor in producing profits or losses. Feed conversion or efficacy is typically assumed to be an indirect indicator of profitability. The calculation for feed efficiency is: total feed consumed ÷ (weight sold – weight started). Therefore, as the name implies, it is a simple ratio of feed divided by amount of gain or a ratio of average daily intake divided by the average daily gain. Feed efficiency is usually a fairly straight forward number to generate.

The next step is to link economics to biology. By using the feed cost instead of feed consumed, making an expression of feed costs per unit of gain, one has converted a biological equation to an economic indicator.

Total cost of gain can be divided into the compartments that make up the gain. For example, researchers and nutritionists agree that Amaferm® will increase average daily gains of stocker cattle about 0.2 pounds per day. This weight gain is in addition to the 0.2 pounds per day that will be realized from the mineral, trace mineral and vitamin supplementation in the Gain Smart minerals. With a total supplementation cost of about 12¢ per head, per day, the cost of gain for Gain Smart mineral is only 30¢ per pound. Cattlemen will always be drawn to supplements that efficiently enhance gains, lower the overall cost of gain and improve profits.

For more information, contact Twig Marston, BioZyme Technical Sales Field Manager at (816) 596-8792.

Power Your Herd with BioZyme Protein Products

It is a widely known and accepted fact that supplementation is a large portion of cash costs for every cattle operation. Protein is a crucial nutrient in a beef cattle diet (or any species for that matter). Unfortunately, protein supplementation is frequently a high-cost item in the nutritional program, and therefore, often ignored.

Protein is essential within the diet of a ruminant to supply the ammonia needed for microbial growth and provide the amino acids needed for absorption from the small intestine. A deficiency in protein can limit microbial activity, microbial protein synthesis and rate of digestion. All of these can impact feed and energy intake. Furthermore, if an animal receives insufficient amounts of protein, production of meat, milk and wool can be dramatically reduced.

However, when a producer is supplying supplemental protein to their livestock, they don’t always think about how much of that protein the animal is actually utilizing. Regardless of the nutrient, there is a portion that can and can’t be utilized by the animal. The component that is available to be utilized by the animal is considered “digestible”. On average, only about 40% of supplemental protein can actually be digested by the animal and used for growth, reproduction, lactation, etc.

So how can we make digestibility of protein more efficient? By increasing production of microbial cell protein (MCP). Microbial cell protein is the purest form of protein (up to 80% digestible) and is derived from bacteria present in the digestive system. Amaferm®, found in EVERY BioZyme product, has been shown to result in an average increase in MCP of 34%, which correlates to more performance and ultimately more profit in your pocket.

In addition to the use of Amaferm, here are a few extra tips to proper, economical protein supplementation.

1. Identify your animal’s requirements.

In order to develop a cost effective supplementation program, you must first know the protein and energy requirements of your animals. Requirements for protein vary throughout the year and are dependent on the animal’s stage of production. For example, growing calves and cows in early lactation have some of the highest protein requirements. From weaning to puberty, cattle experience the largest increase in protein deposition throughout their lifetime. In turn, their requirement for dietary protein is particularly high as well. In regards to a cow that has just calved, her requirements are highest the first two months post calving due to the increase in protein demanded for lactation; while her lowest requirements are seen post-weaning. A cow’s protein requirement will begin to gradually increase again as fetal development increases.

2. Identify what is in your feed.

The second step in creating a successful supplementation program is knowing the protein content of your total diet. Protein can come from pasture, stored forages and supplemental feeds such as grain. BioZyme provides lab testing and ration balancing services free of charge to its customers. By understanding the nutrient profile of your available feedstuffs, you can better identify what supplements you can add to your feeding program to meet nutrient requirements and optimize animal performance without over or under feeding.

3. Identify which product best fits your management situation.

Generally, protein supplementation is needed in the late summer when forage quality is at its lowest and when grazing crop residues in late winter. For fall calving herds, forage protein is usually limited during early lactation. BioZyme offers a variety of high-quality protein supplements to meet a producer’s supplemental protein needs. The Concept•Aid® POWER Products all contain 20%, all-natural CP and provide enough vitamins and minerals to serve as a replacement for loose mineral supplements. VitaFerm® offers its POWER protein supplements in tub, meal and block form to fit differing management scenarios, allowing for maximum convenience along with improved animal performance. As a more economical alternative, the VitaFerm 30-13% Protein Tub offers a higher protein level in a smaller feeding rate, as well as a complete mineral package in every feeding.

Proper protein supplementation at various stages of production can prove extremely beneficial to overall animal productivity. The Amaferm advantage present in VitaFerm products increases the rate of digestion, allowing animals to meet their nutrient requirements faster and on less feed. Increased forage digestion provides for greater microbial growth and production of microbial protein to provide the animal with more protein for growth, lactation and reproduction.

New Gain Smart Program

Good nutrition has come to the forefront as one of the keys to healthy, profitable cattle.

RECEIVE: Vita Charge® Drench
Administer within 48 hours post weaning

  • Jumpstarts feed and energy intake
  • Stimulates cattle’s immune system
  • Allows maximum effectiveness of vaccinations

START: Vita Charge® Stress Tub
Feed 14-21 days post weaning

  • Ignites appetite
  • Provides a nutritional punch
  • MOS helps trap bad bacteria to keep digestive upsets at bay

GROW: Gain Smart Mineral
Feed for remaining stocker period (minimum of 45 days)

Gain Smart Wheat
Ensures stockers on wheat or other small grains are accurately  supplemented

Gain Smart Stocker (formerly VitaFerm® Beefmaker™)
Ensures stockers on range grasses are accurately supplemented

Gain Smart Balancer RU 1600 (formerly VitaFerm® Feedlot Medicated RU 1600™)
Ensures stockers on grains are accurately supplemented

Gain Smart POWER 37 (formerly VitaFerm® Sure Power 37™)
When protein is needed

In a field trial conducted by Tracy Leonard, Huntington AR, 110 calves were delivered, 10 doctored, and then they were put on the Gain Smart program consisting of Vita Charge Drench, Vita Charge Stress Tub and Gain Smart Mineral. Of the group, only 1 calf had to be re-doctored within the first 45 days.

“We use the products because they pay for themselves. Vita Charge helps straighten calves out and get their gut activated. We pull less calves, and any time we don’t have to pull out a bottle to treat a calf, it saves us money. Every operation is different, but everyone needs cattle to eat and Vita Charge gets them started right.” – John Terrell, Prairie Creek Cattle Co, AR