For every livestock producer providing the best care possible to their animals is a top priority. However, providing that care while being able to maintain a positive bottom line is crucial to the success of his or her operation, just like it is in any business. As we face uncertain economic times and higher grain prices finding ways to off-set cost of gain is vital to staying in the black.
One way of keeping cost of gain at a minimum is to maximize the nutrients available from the feedstuffs you have available. A research-proven prebiotic like Amaferm® is going to help cattle increase intake, digestibility and absorption, which all impact the overall feed efficiency. Essentially, Amaferm will make good feed great and great feed better, according to John Jeffrey, BioZyme® Inc. Feedlot-Stocker Business Development Manager.
“We can take a poor-quality ration and make it feed better with Amaferm. We can take a hay pile that is not that good and make it feed better. If we have the luxury of having really high-quality forage or access to some really good feed, we don’t have to feed near as much of that to get to the same outcome. So, when we talk about feed additives, in general, any of them that help improve feed efficiency will be more magnified with being fed now when feed costs are high, then when feed costs aren’t as high. We still do the same thing, it just won’t be as magnified,” Jeffrey said.
Backgrounders and stockers have several options to get Amaferm into their calves with the Gain Smart® mineral line. Gain Smart is a line of vitamin and mineral supplements for beef cattle with the Amaferm advantage that promotes economically produced pounds by maximizing the natural energy and protein available in forage and feed.
Here is one example of a cost-savings benefit on a summer-grazing situation.
A backgrounder runs 2,000 calves in the Flint Hills of Kansas while feeding a mineral from the local feedstore that costs $14/bag delivered. The average death loss is 2% or 40 calves. The local BioZyme dealer convinces him or her to feed Gain Smart at an investment of $20.50/bag delivered, a difference of $6.50 with $5 of that the Amaferm advantage. Each bag has 200 servings, and the feeder plans to graze for about 110 days, so he or she will need 1,100 bags, so will be spending about $7,150 more on the mineral program this year than in the past. But wait. The calves will be healthier, and the death loss will cut to 1% or 20 calves on this improved mineral. Now, let’s look where the feeder is financially.
Initial investment: 1,100 bags x $6.50 more than previous mineral = $7,150
Saved 20 calves due to increased health: 500# calf x $1.53/# x 20 head = $15,300
$15,300 – $7,150 = $8,150 profit in live calves
Your initial investment has more than paid for itself, plus the Amaferm advantage is going to help your calves gain, meaning potentially fewer days on grass. Your calves should stay healthier, meaning less dollars spent on treatments. Gain Smart is an investment that will continue to offset cost of gain in challenging times.
“Gain Smart will improve feed efficiency and health and that is more money in your pocket,” Jeffrey said.
In addition, Jeffrey emphasized that the ingredients in the Gain Smart line of minerals will help cattle reach their optimum potential without other additives that might keep them from premiums in programs like all-natural, NHTC and other value-added opportunities. In fact, through a partnership with Superior Livestock, feeders can earn premiums through the VitaFerm® Gain Smart value-added program, one of the first nutritional value-added programs that Superior recognized.
“It’s even going to be more important for folks to utilize Gain Smart to help them become more efficient, especially if they are going to be participating in these all-natural or NHTC programs where they are not allowed to use some of the technologies like ionophores and they can’t use implants. If they’re forced to use an antibiotic, then that animal drops out of that program,” Jeffrey said.
Gain Smart is available in four formulas for a variety of management scenarios and provides a cost-effective way to promote gain and general herd health. The mineral options include: Gain Smart Stocker, Gain Smart Wheat, Gain Smart Balancer RU 1600, and Gain Smart Stocker HEAT®. All minerals are designed to balance basic nutrient needs for maximum efficiency. Gain Smart Stocker is designed for those who are feeding a medium to high forage diet and works well for both cool- and warm-season grasses. It is the most versatile and can be fed in multiple places under multiple conditions.
The newest option, Gain Smart Stocker HEAT is ideally suited for backgrounding and yearling cattle on grass and also contains plant extracts to help maintain circulation to support animal performance and gain in both heat and fescue situations. The plant extracts are research-proven to support animals’ ability to maintain normal body temperature. This mineral is ideal in the hot summer months or any time fescue is grazed. It Includes garlic, to deter insects.
Gain Smart Wheat is formulated for a higher-quality forage diet rich in protein and nitrogen such as wheat, small grains and legumes. It includes extra magnesium to help balance the nutrients in the diets and should be fed in spring and early summer.
Gain Smart Balancer RU 1600 is designed for those calves that are being backgrounded or fed in a dry lot situation and fed a mixed grain ration. The Balancer compliments the co-products like distiller’s grain and cereal by products and works well with fermented feed like silage. Unlike the first two minerals it contains no phosphorus but does have Rumensin in it. The Balancer can be fed to heavier weights, and it is a good selection when trying to improve feed efficiency.
With four options that are sure to help you save money, make sure to develop your 2021 program with the help of the Gain Smart program.