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Angus Journal

Copyright © 2016
Angus Media.
All Rights Reserved

Novel Nutritional Ideas for Feedlot Cattle

Research compares feedlot performance of cattle fed diets supplemented with organic trace minerals vs. cattle fed more typical diets.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2016) — Ever hear of nutrigenomics? That is the name given to the study of interactions between food nutrients and the genome. As it relates to cattle, nutrigenomics research seeks to understand how various elements of the diet influence gene expression.

During the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in San Diego, Calif., nutritionist Vaughn Holder led a “Learning Lounge” educational session explaining how different forms and combinations of nutrients are being included in feedlot cattle diets as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Holder is a beef specialist for Alltech, a biotechnology company devoted to providing innovative nutritional concepts and products.

Holder talked about commercial feedyard studies designed to test two concepts — (1) cattle response to diets containing completely organic minerals and (2) performance enhancement without use of antimicrobials. Holder said researchers were particularly interested in comparing responses among cattle whose compromised immune systems often leave them predisposed to poor lifetime performance.

Researchers sought to compare the performance of cattle receiving a diet formulated with Alltech’s Bioplex® organic trace minerals with the performance of cattle receiving more typical diets including inorganic minerals. According to Holder, Bioplex-treated cattle posted higher average daily gains, plus heavier finished and carcass weights. Bioplex-treated cattle also achieved greater dressing percentages.

“Health effects were more dramatic,” stated Holder, explaining that cattle receiving Bioplex exhibited a 57% lower mortality rate than the control group. “Morbidity rates were not different. Cattle from both groups got sick, but those receiving support of immune function (through Bioplex) were more able to recover.”

Additional studies were conducted to compare responses among cattle fed a typical diet with animals fed a diet formulated with Alltech’s new EPNIX mineral program instead of a standard mineral formulation. Also different from the control group, rations based on the EPNIX program contained neither monensin nor tylosin.

Holder said that compared to animals fed a standard diet, cattle on the EPNIX program posted higher dry-matter intake and average daily gain. On average, carcass weights were heavier, ribeye area size was larger and dressing percentage was greater.

“This offers opportunity for increased profit per head and positive return on investment to the producer,” said Holder.

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