Feed Lot

APR 2013

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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ionophores improve utilization of forage resources and could improve feed efficiency by as much as 10%. ���When beef producers ask what they could be doing to maximize profits today, I tell them to go back for several decades, look at some options they might not have implemented then and consider what value those things could bring to their operation today,��� Reinhardt says. ���One of the options from the past that could serve producers well today is ionophores.��� �� Ionophores (found in monensin-Rumensin, lasa�� locid-Bovatec, laidlomycin propionate-Cattlyst��) affect microbial population in the rumen. Ionophores function by selecting against or negatively affecting the metabolism of certain rumen bacteria. When detrimental rumen bacteria is controlled with ionophores, fewer waste products are formed, beneficial bacteria are more efficient, and more beneficial organic acids and microbial protein are formed for cattle to metabolize. The feed additive also decreases breakdown of protein in the rumen, increasing bypass of protein to the small intestine where it can be better used by the animal. The effect is important in growing cattle on highroughage diets. Ionophores can be added in small amounts to feed rations in several ways, including in the form of cubes, blocks and as part of a mineral supplement. ���Producers need to keep in mind that Rumensin is approved for cows and only Bovatec is approved for free choice,��� Reinhardt notes. In general, ionophores enhance absorption of nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Feed efficiency is improved because ionophores increase capture of feed energy during rumen fermentation with less methane produced. Because of increased energy retention during rumen fermentation, animal performance improves. Ionophores reduce incidence of coccidiosis, acidosis and bloat. Reduction of these stressors also aids animal performance. A local expert or veterinarian can assist producers in assessing the optimal form of ionophores that suits their operation and help determine how much to use. ���Ionophores are very inexpensive,��� Reinhardt says. ���On average, it costs about two cents per cow per day to use them. If you consider that a cow eats about 20 pounds of forage per day and consumes a ton of forage over a 100-day period, you can save about 10 percent of that ton. If hay costs are at $130 a ton, you save about $13 per cow over the winter. Even in a small herd that���s a significant savings.��� In addition to improving feed efficiency, ionophores have been shown to increase rate of gain by 2 to 7 percent and do not impact carcass characteristics. ���If your cattle are grazing pastures, savings will probably be somewhat less,��� Reinhardt says. ���The bottom line message here is that beef producers need to take advantage of every opportunity to make their operation more cost effective. The time has come for us to avoid overlooking any option that provides a cost FL savings for our cow herds.��� Circle No. 121 on Reply FEED���LOT April/May 2013 21

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