A nine-month feeding trial at Lethbridge Research Centre shows that average daily gain (ADG) during the 110-day backgrounding period for steers that received Boviglo was 1.11 kilograms per day (kg/d). This was a bit better than that for the control group and a little less but not statistically different from the group that received an implant and the group that received an implant plus antibiotic and Monensin in the feed. All groups received vaccinations but no injection of antibiotics on arrival.
During the 112-day finishing trial, the ADG of 1.64 kg/d for the Boviglo group was right in line with that for the steers that received the implant plus antibiotic and better than that of the control and implant-only groups.
It took another 44 days for the steers to finish to slaughter weight. From the start of the finishing trial to day 156, the ADG for the Boviglo steers was 1.53 kg/d and they finished out at 671 kg. The control group gained 1.47 kg/d finishing out at 657 kg. The implant-only group averaged 1.40 kg/d finishing at 677 and the implant-plus antibiotic group gained 1.46 kg/d finishing at 676 kg.
While the difference in the final numbers isn’t statistically significant in scientific terms, the 14-kg difference in final weights between the control and Boviglo steers would be significant for cattle feeders, explains ruminant nutrition research scientist WenZhu Yang.
Yang says this is really positive for beef producers because they could very well see more improvement with the use of Boviglo in commercial settings where conditions can be quite variable and challenging compared to the ideal, controlled conditions of the research setting with each of the 15 animals in the four treatment groups housed in its own pen.
The length of this study reinforces the positive findings, he adds, confirming that there were no detrimental effects associated with Boviglo.
There were no real differences in carcass quality, except the marbling score for the Boviglo steers was a bit better. Likewise, there were no important differences in the liver scores, manure analysis or blood tests, other than Boviglo had somewhat of a positive antioxidant effect.