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S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G feed to the max

Gene Johnston 02/07/2011 @ 11:00pm On the scene at the 2012 Cattle Convention, Nashville

What can I do to feed less corn, or cheapen a feedlot ration?

That question is high on the mind of cattlemen, and lots of people were trying to give them an answer at the National Cattle Industry Convention.

At the ADM booth, marketing manager Sheldon Bailey was telling beef producers about their product, Amino Gain, which has been available for about a year now. It is one way to make corn byproducts go farther, he said.

The byproducts of corn processing, corn gluten or distillers’ grains, tend to have a high level of crude protein, but it is not necessarily quality protein. “Where the byproduct is deficient, Amino Gain fills the gaps in the amino acid profile, adding to the performance of cattle eating it,” says Bailey.

“We say the payoff is in the 10-10 rule,” says Bailey. “You get 10% improvement in average daily gain, and 10% improvement in feed efficiency.”

The animals are fed a pound of Amino Gain per day, usually mixed in with their regular ration. “If they’re eating 20 pounds a day, you just mix it in at a level that they get one pound of our Amino Gain. It will cost about an extra 10¢ per head per day, but at the 10-10 rule, the return for feeding it is conservatively 2:1,” says Bailey.

“We recommend feeding it up to about 900 pounds,” he continues. “Amino Gain helps cattle put down lean muscle. Up to 900 pounds, that is what they are doing, building muscle. After that they aren’t as efficient at lean growth, so Amino Gain doesn’t make as much sense.”

Up to that weight, cattle are in the stocker phase, and those “are the forgotten animals on most farms,” he says. “They often don’t get as much attention, or the quality of feed, of feedlot cattle. So Amino Gain can really help in that situation. And we are seeing a lot of people in the stocker cattle end of the business get interested in this.

“And it really works well in a situation where the animals are implanted. Implants help them to put down more lean muscle, and Amino Gain lets you feed them for that purpose, too. That’s a perfect fit.”

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