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3 New products for cattle ranchers

Here’s a roundup of three of the latest innovations promoting good health and growth for those in the cattle business.

More Pregnant Cows

Biozyme Inc. offers a new vitamin, mineral, and prebiotic nutritional supplement for cows called Vitaferm Concept Aid. When fed to cows from calving to breeding seasons, it can improve conception rates, calving rates, and weaning pounds, says the company. The product can be fed as a free-choice supplement, in a lick tub, or mixed in feed from 60 days precalving to 60 days after the breeding season.

One of the ingredients in Concept Aid is a prebiotic called Amaferm. It improves nutrient supply to the cows through increased feed intake, higher digestibility, and higher overall feed energy, all of which are associated with rebreeding success, says the company. Concept Aid is also high in vitamin E and trace minerals to promote a quick reproductive recovery after calving.

The net results are more and heavier calves weaned, says Biozyme director of nutrition Kevin Glaubius. “When we compare cow herds on Concept Aid with standard industry averages, we see a 5.8% improvement in calving rates and a 59.2-pound improvement in average weaning weights from better milk production,” he says. “The result is a $133-per-cow advantage.”

Concept Aid comes in several alternative formulations, including one called Concept Aid Heat for hot weather help. Another formulation contains fly control ingredients.


Sort Calves by Growth, Carcass Scores

Igentity Feeder is a new genomic profile for stocker or feedlot cattle from Neogen, which specializes in genomic selection technology for livestock. Igentity Feeder identifies a calf’s potential for growth and carcass traits, helps sort calves into finishing groups, and provides the number of days each animal needs to be fed to reach its genetic potential.

Paige Pratt, a beef territory manager for Neogen, says three factors go into each calf’s Igentity Feeder profile. The first is a terminal index profile of the calf ’s predicted marbling score, rib eye area, fat thickness, and carcass weight. The second is a days-on-feed (DOF) index, which measures the length of time the animal should be fed to maximize profits. The third is a bovine congestive heart failure risk factor index that helps identify animals at high risk for this fatal event, which sometimes happens late in the feeding cycle.

The optimal DOF index is a highlight of the Igentity Feeder profile, Pratt says. This score can vary from as little as 97 days on feed for a 1,000-pound steer with a high DOF index, to 395 days for a 500-pound steer with a low DOF. Some of the differences may be easy to see in terms of starting weight and skeletal frame size, says Pratt, and managers can sort accordingly. For cattle in the middle of the DOF index, differences are not easy to see, and it is where Igentity Feeder may be the most valuable.

“Even a 20-day difference in DOF can be very impactful to profits,” Pratt says. “At $3 a day for feed and yardage, feeding an animal 20 days too long can be a $60 feed loss right there.”

Igentity Feeder costs $15 and requires taking a small ear punch of tissue or collecting a hair sample and sending it to Neogen for analysis.



Zap Flies With Air Gun

The VetGun III is an upgrade to Huvepharma’s CO2 gun delivery system of fly and lice control products. The new gun, distributed by Durvet, is more compact, lighter, and more durable than previous models, says the company.

Powered by CO2 cartridges (similar to a paintball gun), VetGun III is designed to be used in an open pasture or lot to treat individual animals for flies and lice by shooting a breakable insecticide capsule smaller than a golf ball at their shoulder area from a distance of 15 to 30 feet. The capsule breaks on impact to release the insecticide that sticks to the animal’s hair and spreads over the entire body. Residual fly protection can last from three to six weeks.

Two insecticide types are available: AiM-A (abamectin), effective against horn flies, and AiM-L (lamb-dacyhalothrin), which also controls lice. Together, the alternating approach helps with resistance management.

The gun costs less than $300, and insecticide capsules are $2 to $3 each, depending on the quantity. Cattle may flinch at the first capsule impact, but they adapt to the system quickly, says the company. Ranchers report they can often treat 100 head in an hour.


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