Science Fair Project Leads to Management Update for Backgrounding Operation

Show me someone who is looking for ways to save money; you will probably tell me to look in the mirror. Show me a teenager who is looking for some extra money while working on his science fair project, and I’ll show you Seth Dunivan. According to this Oklahoma eighth grader, saving extra money for his family and providing better care for their animals is what motivated him to research the main challenges of receiving stocker calves. When “stress” showed up in his Google search, he then wanted to find out how he could help the calves with the stress they endure. That’s when he discovered the Vita Charge® Stress Tubs. 

Dunivan, a student at Morrison Public School, said his family brings in fresh-weaned calves trucked out of Florida each spring. On their arrival, they are noisy, tired from traveling, and stressed. He said his internet search produced results that took him to the BioZyme® website to learn more about Vita Charge Stress Tubs. He started to do his research on the product, and located a dealer nearby. 

“For this project, I had hypothesis that the group with the stress tubs would gain 20 pounds, and my hypothesis was very close. The cattle on the Stress Tubs gained 15 pounds more than the ones than the ones that did not. They gained 2.8 pounds per day while the ones without tubs only gained 2.1 pounds. So, it definitely shows they were gaining more weight while they were eating less food. They saved $11.88 per head on feed,” he said. 

Dunivan’s project lasted about 30 days and included two groups of calves with about 35 animals in each group. The groups were managed similarly with the same feed, water, vaccinations. However, one pen had two Vita Charge Stress Tubs, designed to support digestive health and intake in cattle. The control pen was not provided Stress Tubs. The Stress Tubs contain AO-Bioitics® Amaferm®, a research-proven prebiotic to enhance digestibility, MOS to help normalize gut microflora and support the immune system, and probiotics to help restore the gut microbiome.  

The calves on the Stress Tubs did indeed gain more, an average of 0.7 pounds per head per day more, and were more efficient. Dunivan said the overall medicine cost was less in the Stress Tub pen, as only one calf needed treated for sickness, compared to three in the other pen. Overall, the pen of calves with the Stress Tubs, saved or earned $549 more than the control pen without tubs during those 30 days. As a result, his dad has now started using the tubs, and calves are welcomed to Oklahoma with Vita Charge in their pens. 

“A few weeks ago, my dad went back and bought more of the Stress Tubs. Now all of our calves get them when they come off the semi,” Dunivan said. The Dunivan family currently sources their products from Ryan Kirkpatrick at Ponca City. 

Not only did that group of calves win, but the project also won for Dunivan in his division at the State Science and Engineering Fair in Oklahoma as well as the State FFA Agriscience competition. Science teacher Tammy Will is thrilled with his success. 

“One of my educational passions includes real scientific research. I was told by a judge at the Oklahoma State Science and Engineering Fair how well he not only presented, but how well he understands his project and of course, it is a very relevant agriculture application,” Will said. 

Cattlemen, Dunivan has done the homework for you. You make us #AgProud, Seth! Thanks for doing your research, and best of luck as you advance to national competitions in the Fall. 

If you are looking for ways to save money, keep your calves feeling healthy and gaining efficiently, give them the start they need with Vita Charge Stress Tubs. To learn more or to find a dealer near you, visit Vita Charge

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