Vaccinate to eradicate disease

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Vaccinate to eradicate disease

Farmers are looking forward to a prosperous spring and summer season. With good rainfall comes an increase in insect and tick populations. Midges, mosquitoes, biting flies and ticks transmit diseases and farmers should vaccinate their animals against these diseases.

 

 

Examples of these diseases are:

 

Insect transmitted diseases: Blue tongue, Rift Valley fever, lumpy skin disease, ephemeral fever (three-day-stiff-sickness), nagana, anaplasmosis and African horse sickness.

 

Tick transmitted diseases: African and Asiatic red water, anaplasmosis, heart water and corridor disease.

 

It is important that farmers discuss vaccination and treatment programmes with their veterinarian. Early clinical signs of these diseases should be recognised so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. There is no specific treatment for viral diseases; it is important that animals be vaccinated in time to prevent disease outbreaks.

 

The presence of bovine brucellosis, Brucella ovis (ram’s disease), trichomonosis, vibriosis, Johne’s disease in herds is of great concern. All animal owners and breeding societies together with private and state veterinary services should work together to fight and eradicate diseases.

 

Remember, diseases are stumbling blocks in the way of achieving our goal of food security, food safety and economic stability. – Ruvasa

 

Source: Agriorbit

Indigenous veld goats: A family’s profitable passion

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Molasses Meal
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Beef Fat 33+
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Lick Supplements: Maintenance Licks
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Feed Trough, Creep Feed Pen Measurements

Indigenous veld goats: A family’s profitable passion

 

Indigenous Veld Goat breeder Erik de Witt is following his dream of preserving indigenous livestock breeds. Sabrina Dean visited him and learnt that with innovative marketing, it is also possible to make handsome returns on these unique animals.

 

A flock of Xhosa Lob Ears heads to the kraal at sunset.
Photo: Sabrina Dean

 

It is late afternoon at Erik de Witt’s farm, Leeuwkop, near Koffiefontein in the Free State. Most of the family are present and everyone, down to six-year-old Widru, is involved in the daily chores.

 

These include matching lost kids with their mothers, making sure a group of recently born kids get enough milk from surrogate nannies, and transporting lick to the cattle.

 

Today, one more task has been added to the list: selecting the finest of their Indigenous Veld Goats (IVGs) for a photo shoot.

Dappled goats

Erik has a deep-rooted love for indigenous goats that was fostered by his mother, Paulina Myburgh (formerly De Witt).

 

As Erik’s wife, Welmari, tells it, Paulina started farming goats, Kalahari Reds initially, because she wanted something she could call her own. She later fell in love with the dappled IVGs she saw on a visit to the farm of a prominent breeder.

 

“She started with indigenous goats because she thought they were beautiful,” says Welmari.

 

IVGs comprise several separate ecotypes and Erik runs three of these on his farm. He breeds the Xhosa Lob Ear and Northern Cape Speckled, while his eldest son Dian, 12, has invested in the smaller Mbuzi ecotype.

 

Erik has been farming with IVGs for about 11 years. He is also interested in other indigenous livestock types and his breeding operation, Madiru Small Stock, extends to Damara and Meatmaster sheep and PinZ2yl cattle. He has about 250 sheep, 100 “stud-quality” goats (reduced from more than 200), and approximately 60 cattle.

 

The De Witt family is passionate about goat farming. From left: Welmari, Dian (12), Erik and Widru (6).

 

The livestock live mostly off the veld of the 1 164ha farm, which is a mix of grassland and shrub. Erik provides lick or supplemental feed only as needed.

 

The De Witts live at their home in Koffiefontein and drive out to the farm, about 30km away, almost daily. Erik has one permanent employee who lives on-site, September Louw.

 

His duties include putting out feed and water, kraaling smallstock at night, assisting with kidding and breeding, and alerting Erik to any emergency with the animals.

Breeding practices

The goats are a project near to Erik’s heart, and the rest of the family share his passion.

 

“You have to like indigenous animals to want to breed them,” he says.

 

Besides earning income, his main aim is to preserve and improve the breed. He tries to select for natural breed characteristics, including colour variations, build, long legs, hardiness and fertility.

 

He does not overemphasise breeding for increased carcass weight, however, stressing the need for balance. Trying to breed exclusively for increased meat runs the risk of losing traits such as walking ability, hardiness and mothering traits.

 

The coat colouring presents a unique challenge. “You hope for a spotted or multi-coloured kid, and then it ends up being brown!”

 

Erik regards the phenotype of the rams as extremely important, and would sooner use a good-looking ram born as a single kid than a ram born as a twin or triplet but with the wrong build.

 

“Twins will come,” he says. “At this stage, my focus is on phenotypical build.”

 

He adds that breeding for hardiness is not easy; he had to sell off beautiful ewes from top mothers when he thinned out his goat herd as they were not hardy enough to live off the veld.

 

“You can’t feed a goat to get a kid, otherwise you end up buying the kid back,” he says.

 

He provides feed only to those ewes that are nursing kids.

 

Although he keeps breeding records, he tends to first select visually and then refer to his records.

 

“I don’t make any decision simply based on what it says on paper,” he says.

Breeders, enthusiasts & traditional market

According to Erik, dappled coats are currently very popular among IVG enthusiasts. A Xhosa Lob Ear with eye-catching dapples and good conformation will fetch top prices at auctions targeted at breeders or enthusiasts.

 

People buying for traditional or ceremonial purposes are also among Erik’s most important goat buyers.

 

Erik, who works in the auction trade daily as a livestock speculator for Vleissentraal, says that IVGs tend to perform very competitively against Boer goats in the ceremonial market space.

 

“They don’t carry as much meat [unless you feed them] but our goats are longer in the leg at the same age.”

 

He does admit that the market for indigenous goats is far better in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) than in the central parts of the country. In KZN, bidders buy per animal, whereas in the Free State or Northern Cape goats are more likely to be sold on a per-kilogram basis.

 

He overcomes this difficulty through effective marketing practices that include taking stock to select auctions such as national or regional breed-specific sales rather than general weekly meat sales.

 

Using this approach with his sheep, he manages to earn the value of a 350-ewe flock from a flock of about 250.

 

He is also willing to travel long distances, such as taking his goats to auctions in Pietermaritzburg.

 

Erik’s top prices achieved to date are R10 000 for a Lob Ear ram and about R5 000 each for ewes bought at the farm.

 

Dian and the kids

Twelve-year-old Dian is already an old hand at buying and selling goats after his father gave him and his siblings a few start-up goats each as a gift.

 

Dian decided to sell his Lob Ears in exchange for Mbuzis and now has a silvery dun ram with a herd of ewes of just about every colour variety.

 

He raised a portion of the funds for his Mbuzis after getting good prices for his Lob Ears during IVG sales held in Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg in May.

 

His father funded the rest in exchange for his first eight ram kids. Five of these have now been born.

 

Erik says that his daughter, Marduné, 14, who was at boarding school in Kimberley at the time of the visit, is equally passionate about farming.

 

Widru is keen to start trading goats too, but first needs to understand certain concepts, his father says. At this stage, for example, he is not allowed to sell his ewe, Saartjie, who serves as a nanny for kids in need.

 

Erik says that by allowing the children to own goats of their own, he can teach them the ins and outs of running their own businesses.

 

“Dian needs to realise that one doesn’t get everything for free. He’ll have to give me back the eight ram kids that he owes me,” he says.

 

Equally importantly, he stresses, by working together on the goats they are doing something as a family, with the aim of preserving something beautiful.

 

Phone Erik de Witt on 082 681 5999 or email him at ehdewitt@gmail.com.

 

Author:  Sabrina Dean

Source: Farmer’s Weekly

Molatek Drought Relief – Feed Donation

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Molatek Drought Relief Feed Donation

Molatek recently undertook a project to offer drought relief to Mohair farmers in the Rietbron, Herold and Little Karoo regions of the Eastern and Western Cape. These major Mohair producing regions are the source of income for many farmers, and with the struggling ostrich industry, farmers have turned instead to Angora farming.

 

With most goat farming taking place on dry and irrigated lands, and with many farmers unable to properly irrigate their lands for the past three years, farmers were left to sell their excess stock and continue with the bare minimum of breeding stock in order to continue. The drought had an extensive economic effect on these farmers, due to the fact that replacement ewes could not be brought in and the number of lambs that were brought up in the last three seasons had decreased by 30-40% because of poor occupancy.

 

 

In the arid Karoo region, Mohair is a major source of income, and while some farmers have opted to disconnect their electricity in order to save money, many others were unable to afford various drought relief products that were available.

 

With the help of NWK Logistics, Molatek’s Drought Relief project aided 30 Mohair farmers in the Rietbron area and 13 farmers in the Herold area with drought relief.

 

Other institutions that have been key to drought relief aid over the last two years include the Sentraal – Suid Co-operative Ltd (SSK), South African Mohair Industries Limited (SAMIL), Suid Afrikaanse Sybokhaarkwerkersvereniging (SASKV) and South African Wool & Mohair Buyers’ Association (Sawamba), by providing drought relief in the form of maize.

Effect of body weight and body condition on conception rate

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Molasses Meal
Natural Protein Concentrate
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Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
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Background 18
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Enerblock
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Condition Lick
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Late Summer Pasture: Transition Licks
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Winter Veld Concentrate
Late-Pregnant Cows At The End Of Winter: Production Licks
Condition Lick
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Lick Mix 87
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Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
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Winter Veld Concentrate
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Feed Trough, Creep Feed Pen Measurements

The effect of body weight and body condition on conception rate

Dr Vlok Ferreira, National Technical Manager – Ruminants, of RCL Foods, Molatek and Epol, attended the Agri-Expo on Friday the 12th of October to present a talk on “Factors that influence cow productivity”. He discussed the importance of understanding cow productivity; highlighting that in beef cattle productivity can be measured as kg per calf weaned per large stock unit mated (KgC/LSU). Dr Ferreira also noted that implementing an effective replacement heifer program may be a big challenge for beef cattle farmers, and is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

 

The topics that were covered include:

 

  1. Heritable traits that can influence cow productivity
  2. How improving cow productivity reduces environmental impact
  3. How the age at which a cow reaches maturity influences productivity
  4. Effect of body weight and body condition on conception rate

 

In this article we discuss the effect of proper body condition and weight on conception rates.

Proper nutrition is not to be underestimated when it comes to the conception rate of heifers

In a herd of 98 heifers, the average weight of the herd was 341 kg. It was found that 63 out of the 98 cows (64%) conceived when they had a weight of 350 kg at service. Those animals that did not conceive (36% of the herd) had an average weight of 327 kg at service.

 

As we can see, the weight at mating has a direct impact on whether the heifer conceives or not and the health and body condition of the cow is highly important when it comes to mating.

The effect of body condition score (BCS) on conception rate

It was found that for a cow to conceive during the next cycle, it is optimal for the cow to have a body condition score of 3.5 at calving on a scale of 1 is thin and 5 is fat. This had a resulting conception rate of 80%.
Similarly, body condition score during mating had an influence on the conception rate, with a BCS of 3.5 resulting in a conception rate of 100%.

 

This proves that the optimal BCS for a cow to conceive, both at calving and at mating, is a score of 3.5.

 

It is of utmost importance that the body condition score (BCS) not be too low, as it will prevent the cow from conceiving.

Heifer Nutritional Requirements

A heifer’s nutritional requirements are going to depend on the size of her body frame and her weight. Logically, it makes sense that an animal with a larger frame is going to have slightly higher requirements than animals that have a smaller frame.

 

Supplementing heifer diets:

Working on the assumption that the heifer weighs 400 kg and is grazing on winter veld (94.1% protein), she will have a daily intake of 7.2 kg of grazing, of which 300 g is protein and 3 kg is TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients) and 6.3 MJ/kg pasture.

 

Since the heifer’s protein requirements need to be met, the protein content of the grazing needs to be calculated. Crop residues in winter are low in protein, and a protein supplement will be needed to ensure that no nutritional deficiencies develop.

 

Suggested supplementation includes:
250 – 300 g Protein/day
1 – 1.5 kg TDN/day
12 – 18 MJ/day
3 – 5 g Phosphorous/day

First calf feed requirements

A first calf heifer will be smaller than a mature cow, but will have nutritional requirements very similar to that of a mature cow due to the fact that she is still growing, carrying a growing foetus and producing milk. In fact, the protein and calcium requirements of a first calf heifer will be higher than that of a mature cow.

Many supplementation practices are ineffective for heifers

The intake of standard winter protein licks for maintenance by heifers is too low, and very often the importance of trace minerals is overlooked and supplementation is inadequate.
A USDA study found that only 8% of beef farmers that sent in feed samples for analysis indicated that the poor performance of their animals could possibly be linked to insufficient trace minerals in the diet.

The effect of phosphate supplementation on heifer performance

The proper supplementation of phosphate is undeniably important in ensuring a proper calving percentage. Not only has phosphate been linked to weight gain, but also to an improved calving rate. If no phosphate is supplemented, the calving percentage of the herd is 52.9%, with cows calving every second year only. The lack of phosphate means that cows spend the year not in calf building up their phosphate reserves again. If cows are properly supplemented with phosphate, the calving percentage is increased to 75.6%. Not only does their dry matter increase by 25%, but their body weight at calving increases with 15% as well. The average daily gain of cows with proper phosphate supplementation has been shown to increase with 130 – 320 g/day.
Cattle grazing on pasture, specifically young, green pasture, should be supplemented with a source of phosphate, like a phosphate lick. Veld pasture is phosphate-deficient, resulting in a deficiency in the diet of the cow.

 

For more information visit our Epol or Molatek websites or contact Dr Vlok Ferreira at Vlok.Ferreira@rclfoods.com

 

Read part 1 (Heritable traits that can influence cow productivity) here.

How the age at which a cow reaches maturity influences productivity

Products
Energy
Molasses Meal
Natural Protein Concentrate
Bypass
Fattening
Beef Fat 33+
Feedlot Concentrate
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Dairy
Dairy Master Concentrate
Pro 16
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Cattle and Sheep Maintenance and Production Lick Mixtures
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Foslick
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Production Supplements, Energy, Finishing and Rearing on Green Pastures
Background 18
Elite Block
Lamb And Ewe Lick
Master 20
Cattle, Sheep and Game Maintenance and Production Blocks
Enerblock
Fosblock
Multi Block 28
Trophy Block
Winter Block 40
Drought Feed
Drought Supplement
Farming Practices
Cattle
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Backgrounding: Feedlot Preparation
Dry Pasture
Green Pastures
Cows On Dry Winterveld And Crop Residues: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Block 40
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late Summer Pasture: Transition Licks
Condition Lick
Lick Mix 87
Multi Block 28
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late-Pregnant Cows At The End Of Winter: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Preparation Of Bulls: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Dry Winter Veld: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Green Summer Veld: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Master 20
Summer Green Pasture: Maintenance Lick
Fosblock
Foslick
Sheep
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Early And Mid Pregnancy: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Finishing On Pasture: Production Supplement
Green Pasture
Flush Feed: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Late Pregnancy And Early Lactation: Production Licks
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Preparation Of Rams: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Young Ewes And Rams: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Dairy Cattle
Dairy Cows: Lactating And Dry Cows
Dairy Meal Mixtures
Dry Cow Mixtures
Rearing Of Dairy Heifers: Day 1 To Steam-Up
Calf Grower Diet
Calf Starter Diet
Heifer Mixed Concentrate
Game
Lick Supplements: Maintenance Licks
Dry Pasture
Green Pasture
Feed Trough, Creep Feed Pen Measurements

How the age at which a cow reaches maturity influences productivity

Dr Vlok Ferreira, National Technical Manager – Ruminants, of RCL Foods, Molatek and Epol, attended the Agri-Expo on Friday the 12th of October to present a talk on “Factors that influence cow productivity”. He discussed the importance of understanding cow productivity, highlighting that in beef cattle, productivity can be measured as kg per calf weaned; per large stock unit mated. (KgC/LSU). Dr Ferreira also noted that implementing an effective replacement heifer program may be a big challenge for beef cattle farmers, and is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

 

The topics that were covered include:

 

  1. Heritable traits that can influence cow productivity
  2. How improving cow productivity reduces environmental impact
  3. How the age at which a cow reaches maturity influences productivity
  4. Effect of body weight and body condition on conception rate

 

Here we discuss reaching sexual maturity at the right age, and what effects it will have on productivity, as well as factors that influence it. The age at which cows become sexually mature is very important when accounting for productivity, as we want them to calf as close to 2 years of age as possible.

Age at which puberty is reached

Age, weight and breed all have an impact on the age at which a heifer will reach puberty.

 

Age: The goal of many producers is to have heifers calf for the first time at 2 years of age. For this to happen, the heifer should reach puberty at 12 – 15 months of age. This will also depend on the breed of the cow. European breeds reach puberty at the age of 12 months, where breeds in South Africa generally reach puberty at the age of 14 – 15 months.

 

Weight: Weight is the factor that most influences puberty, and a heifer will reach puberty when she weighs 65-70% of her potential mature weight.

 

Breed: Larger, late maturing breeds will reach puberty at a later stage than early maturing breeds, and will generally have a calving age of 27 months rather than 24 months. The average weight will differ for each breed.

 

Heifer breeding weight as a result of breed

 


Breed

Mature Weight

Minimum Weight

Bonsmara

429 kg

320 kg

Beefmaster

498 kg

324 kg

Brangus

465 kg

302 kg

Simbra

534 kg

347 kg

Charolais

590 kg

383 kg

Nguni

365 kg

237 kg

Santa Getrudis

489 kg

318 kg

Age at first heat

Heifers need to have an average daily gain of 800g/day from weaning to first service, or have a total gain of 115-160 kg during the first winter — approximately 200 days.

For most breeds this means that the cross-breed heifers need to weigh between 295 and 385 kg.

 

Age of 1st heat cycle on 2 levels of weight gain

 

360 g/day gain 12 months old 13 months old 14 months old 15 months old

Angus

0

0

33

82

Hereford

11

22

33

38

Crossbreed

0

12

68

85

 

 

730 g/day gain 12 months old 13 months old 14 months old 15 months old

Angus

30 

58

100

100

Hereford

12

50

100

100

Crossbreed

18

76

94

94

 

The above tables indicate the ages from 12 to 15 months, the average daily gain, and the resulting percentage of heifers from Angus breed, Hereford breed, and the Angus-Hereford cross-breed progeny that reached their first heat cycle. It is important to note that crossbreeds will reach maturity at an earlier age than either of the parent breeds.

 

The conclusion that we can draw from these two tables is that heifers who have a greater daily gain will reach maturity at a younger age than heifers who do not have a sufficient enough daily gain.

 

Age at 1st calving

Heifers that calve at the age of 2 years and then calve every following year, will produce 330 kg more weaned calf weight than if they calved for the first time at 3 years of age over a lifetime basis.

 

The main conclusion that we can draw from the above discussion is that cows should reach an optimal weight in order to reach puberty in a timely manner, but that breed effects will have a large influence in what this weight should be. Crossbreeds are optimal in this case as they reach puberty faster than parental breeds.

 

The last fact that we can draw from this is that a cow that calves for the first time at the age of 2 years will have an increased productivity of 330 kg weaned calf weight than if she calves at a later age.

 

For more information visit our Epol or Molatek websites or contact Dr Vlok Ferreira at Vlok.Ferreira@rclfoods.com

 

Read part 4 (Effect of body weight and body condition on conception rate) here.

How improving cow productivity reduces environmental impact

Products
Energy
Molasses Meal
Natural Protein Concentrate
Bypass
Fattening
Beef Fat 33+
Feedlot Concentrate
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Dairy
Dairy Master Concentrate
Pro 16
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Cattle and Sheep Maintenance and Production Lick Mixtures
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Foslick
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Production Supplements, Energy, Finishing and Rearing on Green Pastures
Background 18
Elite Block
Lamb And Ewe Lick
Master 20
Cattle, Sheep and Game Maintenance and Production Blocks
Enerblock
Fosblock
Multi Block 28
Trophy Block
Winter Block 40
Drought Feed
Drought Supplement
Farming Practices
Cattle
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Backgrounding: Feedlot Preparation
Dry Pasture
Green Pastures
Cows On Dry Winterveld And Crop Residues: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Block 40
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late Summer Pasture: Transition Licks
Condition Lick
Lick Mix 87
Multi Block 28
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late-Pregnant Cows At The End Of Winter: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Preparation Of Bulls: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Dry Winter Veld: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Green Summer Veld: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Master 20
Summer Green Pasture: Maintenance Lick
Fosblock
Foslick
Sheep
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Early And Mid Pregnancy: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Finishing On Pasture: Production Supplement
Green Pasture
Flush Feed: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Late Pregnancy And Early Lactation: Production Licks
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Preparation Of Rams: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Young Ewes And Rams: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Dairy Cattle
Dairy Cows: Lactating And Dry Cows
Dairy Meal Mixtures
Dry Cow Mixtures
Rearing Of Dairy Heifers: Day 1 To Steam-Up
Calf Grower Diet
Calf Starter Diet
Heifer Mixed Concentrate
Game
Lick Supplements: Maintenance Licks
Dry Pasture
Green Pasture
Feed Trough, Creep Feed Pen Measurements

How improving cow productivity reduces environmental impact

 

The differences in cow productivity of the Afrikaner breed is examined from 1980 to 2013 (Jordaan 2015)

 

Dr Vlok Ferreira, National Technical Manager – Ruminants, of RCL Foods, Molatek and Epol, attended the Agri-Expo on Friday the 12th of October to present a talk on “Factors that influence cow productivity”. He discussed the importance of understanding cow productivity; highlighting that in beef cattle productivity can be measured as kg per calf weaned per large stock unit mated (KgC/LSU). Dr Ferreira also noted that implementing an effective replacement heifer program may be a big challenge for beef cattle farmers, and is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

 

The topics that were covered include:

 

  1. Heritable traits that can influence cow productivity
  2. How improving cow productivity reduces environmental impact
  3. How the age at which cows reach maturity influence productivity
  4. Effect of body weight and body condition on conception rate

 

In this article we discuss how the productivity of the Afrikaner beef-breed improved from 1980 to 2013, and how these changes were achieved.

 

The aim of the evaluation was to investigate the effect of cow productivity and the different components that influence cow productivity (weaning weight, weight of the cow, and inter-calving period) have on the environment.

 

Definition of LSU ( Large Stock Unit)

The equivalent of an ox with a weight of 450 kg, that has a daily gain of 0.5 kg/day whilst on grazing, and that has a digestive energy of 55% and 9 kg intake of grazing a day.

 

In South Africa the enteric methane emissions factor (MEFenteric) of one LSU is 94 kg methane/year.

Material and Methods

The relative contribution of the 3 components (weaning weight, cow weight and inter-calving period) to cow productivity and the resulting environmental impact is investigated. This was managed by changing one of the three factors by 5% while keeping the other two factors constant.

Results

The cow productivity of Afrikaner cattle measured in 1980 was 94 kg weaned calf per LSU mated, with the MEFenteric of a LSU measured at 94 kg methane per year.
The resultant conclusion: MEFenteric = 1 kg of methane produced per kg calf weaned/LSU mated.
In other words, every kg of weight on a weaned calf per LSU mated, resulted in 1 kg of methane being produced.

 

The cow productivity for Afrikaner cattle measured in 2013 was 107 kg weaned calf per LSU mated, with MEFenteric of 0.88 kg methane per kg calf weaned per LSU mated.
In other words, every kg of weight on a weaned calf per LSU mated, resulted in 0.88 kg of methane being produced.

 


Trait

% Change in Trait

% Change in Cow Productivity

% Change in MEFenteric

Calf Weaning Weight

+5%

+5.3%

-3.5%

Cow Weight

+5%

-4.0%

+2.6%

ICP

-5%

+7.3%

-4.8%

 

The genetic improvement of the Afrikaner cows in this investigation showed a decreased cow weight, a 20 day decrease in the intercalving period and a 20 kg increase in weaning weight.
This improvement of the productivity of Afrikaner cows decreased the carbon footprint by 12%, between 1980 and 2003.

 

This is comparable to another investigation conducted by Capper (2011), indicating that beef cattle in the USA had a decrease of 16% in their carbon footprint from 1977 to 2007.

 

The importance of improving the calving percentage of national herds by about 62 – 65% is illustrated by the relatively large environmental impact that fertility has, when looking at intercalving-period as a measurement.

 

 

The relatively large positive environmental impact of an increase in fertility (as reflected by ICP) illustrates how important it is to increase the relatively low calving percentage of the national beef herd ( ~ 62 – 65 %).

 

A higher weaning weight, a higher weaning percentage and a lower inter-calving period decreased negative effects on the environment, and this is what beef cattle producers should be aiming for, with optimal cow productivity in mind.

 

Notable result: When the inter-calving period was decreased by 5%, overall cow productivity improved with 7.3 percent.

 

What this means is that more calves are weaned, and that inter-calving should be decreased as much as possible in order to experience the largest effect, resulting in highest productivity and highest output.

 

For more information visit our Epol or Molatek websites or contact Dr Vlok Ferreira at Vlok.Ferreira@rclfoods.com

 

Read part 3 (How the age at which cows reach maturity influences productivity) here.

Factors that Influence Cow Productivity

Products
Energy
Molasses Meal
Natural Protein Concentrate
Bypass
Fattening
Beef Fat 33+
Feedlot Concentrate
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Dairy
Dairy Master Concentrate
Pro 16
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Cattle and Sheep Maintenance and Production Lick Mixtures
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Foslick
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Production Supplements, Energy, Finishing and Rearing on Green Pastures
Background 18
Elite Block
Lamb And Ewe Lick
Master 20
Cattle, Sheep and Game Maintenance and Production Blocks
Enerblock
Fosblock
Multi Block 28
Trophy Block
Winter Block 40
Drought Feed
Drought Supplement
Farming Practices
Cattle
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Backgrounding: Feedlot Preparation
Dry Pasture
Green Pastures
Cows On Dry Winterveld And Crop Residues: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Block 40
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late Summer Pasture: Transition Licks
Condition Lick
Lick Mix 87
Multi Block 28
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late-Pregnant Cows At The End Of Winter: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Preparation Of Bulls: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Dry Winter Veld: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Green Summer Veld: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Master 20
Summer Green Pasture: Maintenance Lick
Fosblock
Foslick
Sheep
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Early And Mid Pregnancy: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Finishing On Pasture: Production Supplement
Green Pasture
Flush Feed: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Late Pregnancy And Early Lactation: Production Licks
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Preparation Of Rams: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Young Ewes And Rams: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Dairy Cattle
Dairy Cows: Lactating And Dry Cows
Dairy Meal Mixtures
Dry Cow Mixtures
Rearing Of Dairy Heifers: Day 1 To Steam-Up
Calf Grower Diet
Calf Starter Diet
Heifer Mixed Concentrate
Game
Lick Supplements: Maintenance Licks
Dry Pasture
Green Pasture
Feed Trough, Creep Feed Pen Measurements

Factors that influence the productivity of beef cows

 

Dr Vlok Ferreira, National Technical Manager – Ruminants, of RCL Foods, Molatek and Epol, attended the Agri-Expo on Friday the 12th of October to present a talk on “Factors that influence cow productivity”. He discussed the importance of understanding cow productivity; highlighting that in beef cattle productivity can be measured as kg per calf weaned per large stock unit mated (KgC/LSU). Dr Ferreira also noted that implementing an effective replacement heifer program may be a big challenge for beef cattle farmers, and is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

 

The topics that were covered include:

 

  1. Heritable traits that can influence cow productivity
  2. How improving cow productivity reduces environmental impact
  3. How the age at which cows reach maturity influences productivity
  4. Effect of body weight and body condition on conception rate

 

The Heritable traits that can influence cow productivity:

 

  1. Weaning weight of the calf
  2. Feed requirements of the cow-calf combination (per LSU- Large Stock Unit)
  3. The rate at which calves are born (indicated by means of inter-calving period – ICP)

 

How to Calculate Calving percentage and Cow Productivity:

 

Calf % = 100 – ((Inter-calf Period – 365 days)/365 X 100)

 

Example:
Inter-calf period: 420 days

 

Calf % = 100 – ((410 – 365)/365 X 100)
= 84.9%

 

Cow productivity = (Weaning % X weaning weight at 205 days)/LSU [we assume that the calving percentage is equal to the weaning percentage]

 

Example:

Weaning weight at 205 days: 210 kg
Cow productivity = 0.849 X 210/1.45 LSU
=123 kg

Easing the shock of weaning

Removing the calf from its mother is a necessary procedure, but also one that unfortunately lowers the productivity of the calf. For the first 14 days after weaning, the calf will likely experience a drop in body weight due to stress and lack of eating, if the weaning process is not properly managed.

 

For this reason Dr Vlok Ferreira suggests the use of a creep feed, to ease the weaning shock. Creep feed is a way of introducing feed to the calf whilst it is still suckling. Getting used to eat out of a feed trough before being weaned is one way to ensure that body weight is maintained during the weaning process, as the calf will already be used to eating feed.

You can find the Epol Calf Starter creep feed product here, and the Molatek Creep Feed product here.

Conclusion

  1. The environmental impact of producing beef cattle can be decreased
  2. The results emphasise the importance of focusing on
    1. Fertility
    2. Identifying the reasons for low calving percentage, such as age at first calving; body condition score (BCS) and lick supplementation practices

 

For more information visit our Epol or Molatek websites or contact Dr Vlok Ferreira at Vlok.Ferreira@rclfoods.com

 

Read part 2 (How improving cow productivity reduces environmental impact) here.

Is your livestock getting enough Bypass Protein?

Products
Energy
Molasses Meal
Natural Protein Concentrate
Bypass
Fattening
Beef Fat 33+
Feedlot Concentrate
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Dairy
Dairy Master Concentrate
Pro 16
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Cattle and Sheep Maintenance and Production Lick Mixtures
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Foslick
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Production Supplements, Energy, Finishing and Rearing on Green Pastures
Background 18
Elite Block
Lamb And Ewe Lick
Master 20
Cattle, Sheep and Game Maintenance and Production Blocks
Enerblock
Fosblock
Multi Block 28
Trophy Block
Winter Block 40
Drought Feed
Drought Supplement
Farming Practices
Cattle
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Backgrounding: Feedlot Preparation
Dry Pasture
Green Pastures
Cows On Dry Winterveld And Crop Residues: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Block 40
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late Summer Pasture: Transition Licks
Condition Lick
Lick Mix 87
Multi Block 28
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late-Pregnant Cows At The End Of Winter: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Preparation Of Bulls: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Dry Winter Veld: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Green Summer Veld: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Master 20
Summer Green Pasture: Maintenance Lick
Fosblock
Foslick
Sheep
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Early And Mid Pregnancy: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Finishing On Pasture: Production Supplement
Green Pasture
Flush Feed: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Late Pregnancy And Early Lactation: Production Licks
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Preparation Of Rams: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Young Ewes And Rams: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Dairy Cattle
Dairy Cows: Lactating And Dry Cows
Dairy Meal Mixtures
Dry Cow Mixtures
Rearing Of Dairy Heifers: Day 1 To Steam-Up
Calf Grower Diet
Calf Starter Diet
Heifer Mixed Concentrate
Game
Lick Supplements: Maintenance Licks
Dry Pasture
Green Pasture
Feed Trough, Creep Feed Pen Measurements

Is your livestock getting enough Bypass Protein?

Sufficient bypass protein is crucial to maintaining and improving the performance and reproduction of all livestock. In this article we will highlight the importance thereof in the diets of cattle, sheep and goats.

 

The protein in a ruminant diet can be divided into two parts, a larger part that is digested in the rumen, and a smaller part that is not. It is the smaller part that we are concerned with when we refer to bypass protein. This is the protein that bypasses the rumen and enters the lower digestive tract – the small intestine.

 

In ruminant nutrition we can divide dietary protein into RDP and UDP:

  • RDP (Rumen Degradable Protein): Most of the protein in feed falls into this category. It is the protein that can be degraded and utilised by the rumen microbes.
  • UDP (Undegradable Dietary Protein): The smaller part, that can also be referred to as rumen escape protein, escapes being degraded by the rumen microbes and passes into the small intestine of the digestive tract.

 

In the small intestine, the nutrients are processed in much the same way as it would be in the stomach of a monogastric animal. Enzymatic digestion takes place and bypass protein is absorbed as amino acids.

The protein that gets degraded in the rumen by the rumen microbes is partly utilised for microbial protein synthesis. The rest is excreted through urine.

Why is bypass protein important?

The amino acids that the animal is able to utilise comes from two sources, namely microbial protein and bypass protein. In fast-growing and high-yield animals, the amount of essential amino acids available to the animal from a microbial source is not sufficient.

Amino acids are directly related to traits like wool growth, muscle growth and milk production, among other. By feeding bypass protein, the diet of the animal is supplemented, ensuring that these essential amino acid requirements are met. This helps to improve growth rate, as well as the overall production of the animal.

 

About Molatek’s Bypass Protein:

  • It is a urea-free protein source
  • A combination of four protein sources are used
  • Molatek’s Bypass Protein is specifically formulated to meet the essential amino acid requirements of ruminants
  • The bypass protein sources complement that of microbial protein to ensure that deficiencies do not develop
  • Cattle and sheep in intensive farming systems, like feedlots, benefit greatly from bypass protein supplementation and show an increase in production

The application of Molatek Bypass Protein can be found here.

Click here to find your nearest Technical Adviser.

The Importance of Proper Drought Supplementation

Products
Energy
Molasses Meal
Natural Protein Concentrate
Bypass
Fattening
Beef Fat 33+
Feedlot Concentrate
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Dairy
Dairy Master Concentrate
Pro 16
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Cattle and Sheep Maintenance and Production Lick Mixtures
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Foslick
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Production Supplements, Energy, Finishing and Rearing on Green Pastures
Background 18
Elite Block
Lamb And Ewe Lick
Master 20
Cattle, Sheep and Game Maintenance and Production Blocks
Enerblock
Fosblock
Multi Block 28
Trophy Block
Winter Block 40
Drought Feed
Drought Supplement
Farming Practices
Cattle
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Backgrounding: Feedlot Preparation
Dry Pasture
Green Pastures
Cows On Dry Winterveld And Crop Residues: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Block 40
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late Summer Pasture: Transition Licks
Condition Lick
Lick Mix 87
Multi Block 28
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late-Pregnant Cows At The End Of Winter: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Preparation Of Bulls: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Dry Winter Veld: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Green Summer Veld: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Master 20
Summer Green Pasture: Maintenance Lick
Fosblock
Foslick
Sheep
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Early And Mid Pregnancy: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Finishing On Pasture: Production Supplement
Green Pasture
Flush Feed: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Late Pregnancy And Early Lactation: Production Licks
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Preparation Of Rams: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Young Ewes And Rams: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Dairy Cattle
Dairy Cows: Lactating And Dry Cows
Dairy Meal Mixtures
Dry Cow Mixtures
Rearing Of Dairy Heifers: Day 1 To Steam-Up
Calf Grower Diet
Calf Starter Diet
Heifer Mixed Concentrate
Game
Lick Supplements: Maintenance Licks
Dry Pasture
Green Pasture
Feed Trough, Creep Feed Pen Measurements

Importance of proper Drought Supplementation:

Despite the fact that South Africa boasts dams that are significantly fuller compared to this time last year, the threat of drought is something that every farmer dreads. With an average annual rainfall of 450 mm, South Africa is an arid region prone to droughts, which many South Africans seem to forget.

 

Proper drought supplementation of animals grazing in drought-stricken areas is of the highest importance, to minimise animal loss and the loss of condition of grazing animals as much as possible. Veld quality is compromised during periods of drought and may have a number of consequences such as protein shortages, energy shortages as well as mineral deficiencies.

What to supplement your livestock with:

Apart from the sheer bulk of food that animals need to consume every day, there is also a nutritional aspect that the grazing needs to comply with. It is easy for ruminants to develop digestive imbalances and for this reason we suggest Molatek’s drought supplement.
The drought supplement is specifically designed to provide a balanced supplement. It is important to note that the amount of roughage available and the quality thereof will influence the level of supplementation. A technical advisor in your area will be able to assist you with this. Click here to find your nearest technical adviser.

The advantages of feeding Molatek Drought Supplement:

  • It is highly palatable and stimulates dry matter intake
  • The drought supplement ensures that the energy and protein needs of an animal are met during times of drought
  • Ruminal fermentation by rumen microbes is improved and the animal is able to optimise the urea as a source of protein
  • Drought supplement prevents the development of dry gall sickness

It should be noted that this supplementation shows an increase in results as the quality of the veld gets improves.

When to start feeding:

It is best to start supplementing the diet of grazing animals before they lose too much body condition, or lose proper function of the gut. It is a good practice to adapt the animals slowly to a new diet, especially one that contains urea, as the rumen microbes will also have to adapt.

Which animals to feed

A hierarchy is established during drought periods and this needs to be upheld to ensure minimum loss. Prioritise animals that are the most productive and will suffer the most from being underfed.
Here is a guideline to determine which animals should get preference:

 

  1. Lactating and pregnant females
  2. Replacement animals (young ewes and heifers) that are expensive to replace
  3. Mature and dry animals
  4. Young steers
  5. Old and infertile animals should be sold as early as possible

When to stop supplementation:

It is important to remember that it takes time for the veld to be restored to its optimal condition and young, green veld that grows after rain is low in energy. For this reason we recommend a continued supplementation following the rains. Please contact your technical advisor for more information. Click here to find your nearest technical advisor.

What is Non-Protein Nitrogen?

Products
Energy
Molasses Meal
Natural Protein Concentrate
Bypass
Fattening
Beef Fat 33+
Feedlot Concentrate
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Dairy
Dairy Master Concentrate
Pro 16
Sheep Fattening/Calf Concentrate
Cattle and Sheep Maintenance and Production Lick Mixtures
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Foslick
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Production Supplements, Energy, Finishing and Rearing on Green Pastures
Background 18
Elite Block
Lamb And Ewe Lick
Master 20
Cattle, Sheep and Game Maintenance and Production Blocks
Enerblock
Fosblock
Multi Block 28
Trophy Block
Winter Block 40
Drought Feed
Drought Supplement
Farming Practices
Cattle
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Backgrounding: Feedlot Preparation
Dry Pasture
Green Pastures
Cows On Dry Winterveld And Crop Residues: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Dryveld 46
Lick Mix 87
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Block 40
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late Summer Pasture: Transition Licks
Condition Lick
Lick Mix 87
Multi Block 28
Winter Veld Concentrate
Late-Pregnant Cows At The End Of Winter: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Preparation Of Bulls: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Dry Winter Veld: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Lick Mix 87
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Protein Lick 40
Winlick 50
Winter Veld Concentrate
Rearing Of Weaner Calves On Green Summer Veld: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Master 20
Summer Green Pasture: Maintenance Lick
Fosblock
Foslick
Sheep
Feedlot Finishing: Complete Feeds And Cafeteria Diets
Adaptation Diets
Finishing Diets
Early And Mid Pregnancy: Maintenance Licks
Condition Lick
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Finishing On Pasture: Production Supplement
Green Pasture
Flush Feed: Production Licks
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Late Pregnancy And Early Lactation: Production Licks
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Preparation Of Rams: Auctions And Shows
Cafeteria Diets
Complete Feeds
Rearing Of Young Ewes And Rams: Production Licks
Background 18
Condition Lick
Enerblock
Master 20
Multi Block 28
Wool Master Concentrate
Wool Sheep Lick 28
Dairy Cattle
Dairy Cows: Lactating And Dry Cows
Dairy Meal Mixtures
Dry Cow Mixtures
Rearing Of Dairy Heifers: Day 1 To Steam-Up
Calf Grower Diet
Calf Starter Diet
Heifer Mixed Concentrate
Game
Lick Supplements: Maintenance Licks
Dry Pasture
Green Pasture
Feed Trough, Creep Feed Pen Measurements

What is Non-Protein Nitrogen (NPN)?

Guaranteed that if you handle animal feed on a regular basis you will have seen the letters NPN on the packaging. NPN stands for Non-Protein Nitrogen, so what do you need to know about it?

Where does NPN come from?

Feed-grade urea is most commonly used as a source of NPN, but other sources are also available. Ammonium sulphate, ammonium chloride and mono-ammonium phosphate are among other sourecs of NPN. Molatek, uses only feed-grade urea.

Why is NPN included in animal feed?

Non-ruminants like humans, pigs and poultry can only utilise amino acids from natural protein sources like soya bean oilcake and cottonseed oilcake. On the other hand, ruminants like cattle, sheep and goats can utilise non-protein nitrogen sources thanks to ruminal microbes. These are microbes like protozoa and bacteria found in the rumen of the animal that can use NPN to synthesise protein. This is fortunate for the animal because it means that a portion of their diet doesn’t have to come from a natural protein source – their rumen microbes make it for them.

 

 

NPN is included in feed because it is more economical than feeding natural protein. NPN has been added to ruminal feeds for years and is not harmful to the animal as long as it is carefully managed.

Why is there a warning on the label?

Careful management of NPN is essential to ensure that urea toxicity does not occur. When too much urea is eaten by a ruminant, ammonia is produced by the rumen microbes and results in hyperammonemia, also known as urea poisoning, if absorbed.

Always be sure to follow the guidelines according to the feed manufacturer’s feeding recommendations and be sure to store fertilisers and NPN containing feeds safely away from ruminants.