Filling the gap to improve weaning weights

Without supplementation, cattle on grass are deficient of methionine, an amino acid. When methionine is lacking, growth and performance are limited – and cow-calf producers are missing profit potential. By adding ALIMET® feed supplement from Novus International, Inc. to their herds" diets, cow-calf producers are supplying the rumen-bypass methionine that cattle need, plus aiding rumen efficiency. This results in improved weaning weights and cows that breed back quicker: double the benefits of traditional, protected methionine supplementation.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins or lean tissue growth. Cattle need many different amino acids to grow and optimize performance. If just one important amino acid is lacking, overall performance will be limited. For cattle on pasture, or a grass diet, the first-limiting amino acid is methionine.

"As the costs of production continue to increase, there is still too much financial risk when cattle don't perform to their greatest potential," says Stephanie Gable, Global Marketing Manager with Novus. "Supplementing with the right methionine source can set up backgrounder or feedlot calves for better performance, and the market gives incentive for larger, healthier animals. By improving their herds" dietary amino acid profiles, cow-calf producers can increase profits and reduce risk."

Matt Hersom, Ph.D., Extension Beef Cattle Specialist with the University of Florida observed positive results in the University's cow herd when supplemented with ALIMET. The University of Florida conducted a recent survey to look at the effect of methionine supplementation in yearling steers on pasture grass. As the level of methionine increased in the supplement, the steers" average daily gain increased.

"ALIMET ensures that methionine can be supplemented to cattle diets at a reasonable price, which is particularly important in forage-based diets, where amino acid profiles are weak in methionine," Hersom explains. "If cow-calf producers are looking to improve the nutritional status of their growing calves, heifers or cows, ALIMET is a resource for them. ALIMET supports growth and performance without adding more crude protein or nitrogen to the herd's diet." ALIMET Improves Profits for Cow-Calf Producers.

Among growing cattle with high-forage diets supplemented with ALIMET, producers have reported a 0.2 pound per day increase in average daily gain. For a steer or heifer that is on grass for three months, that increase can equate to 18 extra pounds. ALIMET supplementation for weaned heifers means better reproductive development, as well.

"With the heifers, we increased average daily gain early on, without adding extra protein to their diet," says Hersom. "Relying on corn protein for a methionine source would increase the crude protein percentage of the feed, which would have a negative effect on breeding. By supplementing with ALIMET instead, we enhanced the amino acid profile and saw a numerical increase in reproductive tract scores."

Cows supplemented with ALIMET will also produce more milk with higher quality, without loss in body condition. By delivering methionine to the rumen, ALIMET increases microbial production and efficiency – allowing cattle to utilize feedstuffs better.

"With improved milk fat yield, milk protein yield and milk production, cows can raise calves that are heavier at weaning," says Gable. "Improving milk production without hurting the cows" longevity contributes to the long-term profitability of herds. ALIMET boosts performance in every part of a cow-calf operation: growing calves, backgrounders, replacement heifers and the cow herd."

ALIMET is a liquid but is available also in a dry form as MFP feed supplement. The two forms provide flexibility in integrating methionine supplementation into individual operations through mineral, creep and background feeding programs.

To experience double the benefits of methionine supplementation with ALIMET, beef producers should contact their nutritionist or a Novus representative. Learn more about ALIMET by visiting the Novus Beef website.

Source: Novus International