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Stretch feed supplies with this additive

Jeff Caldwell 11/01/2012 @ 3:56pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The shortage of feed and forage supplies has been thorough, well-documented, and virtually nationwide this year, increasing prices and eating away at the bottom lines of cattle producers everywhere.

But maybe it's less a matter of getting more feed and instead getting more out of the feed you've got, says one beef nutrition specialist.

Justen Sexten says an additive that controls a parasitic disease in ruminant animals like cattle can stretch feed efficiency by as much as 15%.

"That's like feeding hay for 90 cows to 100 cows," says Sexten, a beef nutritionist with University of Missouri Extension. "It improves digestion of poor hay."

The additive is called Rumensin and it controls an intestinal parasitic disease called coccidiosis. When adding 200 milligrams of the supplement to each animal's feed (typically mixed into 1 pound of grain, Sexten says), it can not only control coccidiosis, but also trim methane emissions by promoting better digestion of carbon in feed. And it does so on a relatively cost-efficient basis.

“For an easy way to use the supplement, ask your feed dealer to mix it with a grain ration,” Sexten says. “It gives a low-cost gain in feed efficiency. A daily dose costs about 1.8 cents. After adding mixing cost, the treatment costs about 2.5 cents a day."

He is careful to point out that the additive is only for ruminant animals and if fed to horses, for example, it can be fatal.

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