Quality Nutrition is a Great Alternative for Antibiotics for Cattle 

The average consumer is no longer average. Grandmothers no longer leave their butter dishes on the countertops or thaw their meat in the sink in white-wrapped paper. They even make sure to refrigerate their eggs.  

Today, the majority of grocery shoppers are women, 68% in fact, and fall between the ages of 24 and 49. Furthermore, they make very conscientious choices about what to feed themselves and their families.  

What does this have to do with you, Mr. and Ms. cattle producer? Everything. Unless you are simply ahead of your time, you likely don’t produce beef “just like grandpa did it” just for nostalgia’s sake. Times are changing, and the consumer wants to know if and what kinds of antibiotics for cattle you’re using. They focus on what’s in the beef they eat. 

Consumers are attracted to words like natural, hormone-free and antibiotic-free, and the beef industry has responded with branded programs to meet consumers’ demands. According to 2020 statistics, there were 61 USDA-certified programs. That doesn’t even allow for all-natural or organic beef.  

Livestock producers have always made livestock care and handling their number one commitment. However, the methods they use have shifted due to some of the branded programs like “Verified Natural Beef” and “Certified Natural Beef.” 

Raising Beef, the Sustainable Way 

Beef producers are the original land and animal stewards. That is one thing that hasn’t changed over time. They want to take care of their animals, and they do. However, they also want to make sure they are sustainable, and that comes down to making sure they do the right thing. Being a good livestock steward means that they don’t give unnecessary antibiotics to cattle. 

However, there are times when antibiotics for cattle are necessary. Antibiotics are used to prevent, treat and control bacterial infections in cattle. There are times when antibiotic use should not (or cannot) be avoided. Producers don’t want to see their animals agonize, just like you wouldn’t want to see your child or grandchild suffer.  

They should also ensure they are using the correct antibiotic so a one-time treatment can be used, when possible, instead of multiple treatments. That is just one reason a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is so important.  

The other reason a VCPR is vital is the transition from over-the-counter treatments to prescription only on all antibiotics this past June. 

“A VCPR means that your vet has been at your place and examined your animals within the last 12 months. It is always good to have an established relationship with a reliable vet so he or she understands your management practices and operation. Sometimes you can treat an animal simply by making a management change instead of giving unnecessary antibiotics,” said Chris Cassady, Ph.D., BioZyme® Senior Manager Beef Technical Sales. 

Turn to Nutrition 

Regardless of whether you use antibiotics for cattle to prevent (or treat) health concerns or to enhance growth, you still want to make sure they stay healthy. Keeping them healthy starts in the gut. More than 70% of the animal’s immune response starts in the digestive tract. That is how a high-quality nutrition program from BioZyme® can help.  

Gain Smart® is a line of vitamin and mineral supplements for stocker cattle that promotes healthy, economical pounds. Four formulas of Gain Smart have three key benefits for anyone feeding or backgrounding calves. It’s the ideal alternative to antibiotics for cattle. 

The Gain Smart products… 

  • Contain AO-Biotics® Amaferm®, a prebiotic research-proven to enhance digestibility. 
  • Include organic copper, iodine and zinc for maximum bioavailability and hoof health. 
  • Provide nutritional support for a healthy immune system. 

Additionally, two formulas include other ingredients for specific management scenarios. Let’s examine each of these benefits in detail and see how Gain Smart is the ideal alternative to antibiotics for your cattle. 

AO-Biotics Amaferm 

Amaferm is a research-proven prebiotic to enhance digestibility. We know that more than 70% of the immune response starts in the digestive system. That’s why calves on the Gain Smart mineral typically stay healthier and gain more efficiently. Amaferm-fed calves typically gain at least 0.25 pounds per day more per head, putting an advantage in performance in the producer’s pocket. 

“We’ve been feeding the Gain Smart® Stocker mineral for six years. Our records show that since we started feeding it, our average gains have gone up at least 1/10 to 1/4 of a pound per day. We feed about 1,500 preconditioned calves each year, 850 pounds on grass before we sell on Superior. Gain Smart is fantastic, from handling it to feeding and weathering. It’s a mainstay in our operation,” said Wayne Beatty from Arkansas. 

Copper, Iodine and Zinc 

Organic trace minerals like copper and zinc add further benefits to the Gain Smart mineral that you might find in some antibiotics for cattle. Zinc is a component of many enzymes. It is essential for immunity, skin and hoof health. Cattle have a limited ability to store zinc; therefore, steady supplementation is necessary. 

Copper is another essential nutrient for cattle, especially when you are trying to keep them gaining healthy, efficient pounds. Copper deficiency can lead to decreased performance, swollen, painful joints, broken bones, anemia and decreased immunity. Further symptoms include diarrhea, anemia and unthrifty or dull hair coat. 

Iodine may not solve all problems, but certain studies have shown that when it is supplemented in iodine-deficient areas, it helps. Iodine supplementation helps decrease incidences of conditions like foot rot, wooden tongue, lumpy jaw and soft-tissue swellings about the neck and jawline.  

These conditions all cause challenges that cost the producer money. It just makes sense to provide nutritional supplementation as an alternative to antibiotics for cattle when they can.  

Nutritional Support of Immunity

Healthy calves are calves that will eat. The more they eat, the faster they grow and gain. At BioZyme, we like to refer to that as healthy, efficient pounds. The combination of Amaferm and the nutrients in Gain Smart provides superb immune support for growing, gaining calves. 

“After I completed a feed trial with CFC, the results of adding Amaferm to the diet were proved to me. So, I started feeding the Gain Smart mineral in addition to the Amaferm pellets to the 1,000 head of stockers I run each year. The health of the cattle is noticeably better; they just feel better, and we’ve had considerably fewer to treat. The cattle are gaining more efficiently, and with the cost of feed that is definitely to our advantage,” said BioZyme customer Joe Johnson of Virginia. 

The Smart Alternative to Antibiotics for Cattle  

As previously mentioned, there are four Gain Smart formulas. All contain Amaferm, zinc, copper and iodine and a complete vitamin and mineral package. Let’s explore each formula and how it fits in with various management scenarios. 

Gain Smart® Stocker 

The original – Gain Smart® Stocker – is a free-choice vitamin and mineral supplement for stocker cattle designed to maximize efficient gain while grazing. 

Gain Smart® Stocker HEAT®  

Ideal for grazing situations, Gain Smart® Stocker HEAT® is a free-choice vitamin and mineral supplement that also includes BioZyme’s HEAT technology. The HEAT package combines essential oils and garlic to support animals when heat and insects are a challenge. 

Gain Smart® Wheat 

Gain Smart® Wheat is a vitamin and mineral supplement for stocker cattle designed to maximize efficient gain on wheat or small grain pasture. 

Gain Smart® Balancer RU 1600 

Gain Smart® Balancer RU 1600, formulated with rumensin, is designed to maximize efficient gain and balance high-grain diets when mixing TMR rations. 

Programs that Pay 

Keeping your calves on a mineral like Gain Smart can save you time and money treatments and help your calves experience faster gains. A program like Gain Smart can also help you receive premiums come sale day.  

Today, producers are receiving added premiums for keeping their cattle healthy the “natural” way by enrolling them in one of several value-added programs. Superior Livestock Auctions, a leader in livestock marketing, offers several value-added marketing programs to the producer.  

A partnership established in 2017 between Superior and BioZyme resulted in the first two nutrition value-added programs, the VitaFerm® Raised and Gain Smart programs. These programs document that calves sold with the program emblems have been fed one of the two high-quality minerals.  

The Gain Smart Program

“One of the main things [the buyers] look at is the health program cattle are on. Just as important is their nutrition program. If they have a good nutrition program, their health program will work twice as well. Buyers and sellers are actively looking for that as they recognize the value of it,” said Ty de Cordova, Superior Rep, who believes in and promotes the value of a high-quality nutrition program. 

The calves that sell on the Gain Smart program offer more value to the seller from a monetary standpoint. They can also help the seller stay eligible for other value-added programs because the mineral keeps the cattle healthy, decreasing the need to give antibiotics to cattle. 

Get Gain Smart today! 

Are you looking to keep your cattle healthy and gaining? Would you like to reduce the time and cost of administering antibiotics for cattle? Today is a great day to start your calves gaining healthy, efficient points with the Gain Smart mineral. Powered by Amaferm, this mineral will help your cattle maximize their gain while staying healthy. 

You can purchase yours today at your local BioZyme dealer. Find the dealer nearest you with our dealer locator. 

Do you need just one bag of mineral or do you prefer to shop online? Visit our online store. 

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