Schooten and Sons Custom Feedyard has been pioneering the use of a natural feed supplement called Bio-Mos that has significantly reduced the sickness and mortality rates at their feedlots near Picture Butte and Diamond City in southern Alberta.
The Schootens participated in Alltech s first feedlot performance trial on Bio-Mos in Canada in the fall of 2006 to demonstrate the response of calves to Bio-Mos in receiver diets. Liking what they saw, they have been using Bio-Mos ever since and have incorporated it as part of their receiving protocol for all calves and some yearlings, says John Schooten, who owns and operates the feedyard business with three sons, Shane, Justin and Cody.
Bio-Mos is one of several animal feed supplements derived from natural yeasts through proprietary processes developed by Alltech, a global animal feed and nutrition company established in 1980 with headquarters at Nicholasville, Kentucky. It has been available to livestock producers and pet owners in Canada since 1993 and is routinely used in the swine and poultry industries, says Ty Yeast, managing director of Alltech Canada. The Schooten feedyard trial was organized to introduce the company s products to the beef industry.
A total of 902 newly weaned calves averaging 630 pounds were randomly assigned to five pens. Three of the pens were chosen at random to receive the control diet, which was a standard receiver ration of barley silage, barley grain, a commercial vitamin-mineral premix and chlortetracycline. The remaining two pens received the standard ration with the addition of Bio-Mos at 20 grams per head per day for the first 21 days after arrival. The calves were weighed in and again at implant, 70 to 90 days later. All treatments and mortality were recorded and feed intake was monitored daily with total feed intake calculated for each pen during the trial period, which was from arrival to implant.
In their experience during the past five years of feeding Bio-Mos at their preferred rate of 30 grams per head per day for 30 days after arrival, the most outstanding difference has been the reduction in their pull rate, treatment rate and mortality, Schooten says. That s evident throughout the entire feeding period, not just during the first month while Bio-Mos is in the ration.
They notice that the calves get on feed more quickly after arrival. Getting the gut full and functioning is really the key to getting them off to a good start and keeping their immune systems primed.
Our sick pens aren t nearly what they used to be, Shane adds. It seems to boost the immune system and help to alleviate health problems that I believe are secondary to BVD persistently infected animals. We see way less mycoplasma and hemophilus. If we do have to treat them, they respond better to the medications and keep eating or get back on feed sooner and when they are eating, they get back to full strength and vigour sooner.
Two side benefits are that they have been able to remove the tetracycline feed additive they formerly used as a preventive measure and, being a natu- ral product without antibiotic, there is no withdrawal period for Bio-Mos.
The benefits far outweigh the cost of $4 to $5 per head to include Bio-Mos in the receiving rations, Shane says. It s an effective and economical way to get mortalities down.
Schootens also use Alltech s silage inoculant, Sil-All, with beneficial bacteria, plus sugar-reducing enzymes to optimize fermentation (the conversion of sugars to lactic acid) and create a stable, low-pH environment required for preservation.
Shane says they now have very little spoilage in the silage pit and they really like the way Sil-All handles without gumming up the equipment.
Animal health and nutrition are the foundation of the service Schooten and Sons Custom Feedyard offers. They work closely with Cargill Nutritional Services and with the Lethbridge Animal Clinic to develop feeding and health protocols that promote the animals well-being and ability to reach their full growth potential.
They own cattle and pen share with other customers and are building a solid custom-feeding business by providing a package of services that include business risk management, marketing, order buying and selling, age verification, performance tracking and trucking services. A unique service is the ability to offer the latest in industry news related to the numerous producer groups with which John is involved at the provincial and national levels. Computer software programs for feed bunk management, health records, benchmarking and other feedlot management solutions are integral to their feedyard and feed mill operations.
Shane and Cody also own and operate S&C Farming, specializing in custom silaging, corral cleaning and manure and compost hauling.
The Schooten family has been in the livestock business for three generations since John s dad started farming in 1966 and set up the first feedlot in 1979. Today, the farm includes the Picture Butte facility set up for 5,000 head and the Diamond City lot, purchased in 2006, which accommodates 10,000 head, along with 2,000 acres of irrigated cropland for barley, corn and hay production.
Though the Alltech name is relatively new to beef producers in Canada, the company has research and development BioScience Centres in three countries, manufacturing facilities in 31 countries, and offices and distributors in 128.
Bio-Mos is one of a number of Alltech feed supplements available in Canada that are of interest to beef and dairy producers. Many of the company s brands have been shown to be beneficial for all livestock species. Yea-Sac1026, a live yeast culture, was introduced in 1983. It was followed by Bioplex, a proteinated trace mineral product, SEL-PLEX, an organic form of selenium, NuPro, a functional protein from yeast, and Actigen, developed through research in nutrigenomics. Optigen was introduced three years ago as a non-protein nitrogen source specifically for ruminants that offers feed and environmental advantages.
More information about Alltech is available by calling the Calgary office at 1-403-735-3281 and at www.alltech.com.
For more information about Schooten and Sons Custom Feedyard, call 403-381-3883 or visit the website at www.johnschootenandsons.split5.com.[
It seems to boost the immune system and help to alleviate health problems that I believe are secondary to BVD persistently infected animals.