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Nutrition Notes

Kent Performance Primer

Brandon Koch, Ph.D., Beef Nutritionist

The year 2019 provided exceptional challenge to beef producers. The challenges we face as producers often stem from, or directly cause, stress on our cattle. Record low temperatures, historic flooding from the Great Plains through the Midwest, heat stress events, and late, cool growing seasons followed by difficult harvests left our animals dealing with environmental, physiological, and psychological stressors above that of normal production years. When stress happens, it often impacts animals in more than one way – impacting intake, maintenance requirements, and health status.

Just as we prepare our engines for performance, priming the engines prior to ignition and the high RPMs of performance, so too should we prepare our cattle for the demands of weather, growth, reproduction, and dietary changes that come with production stresses. Kent Performance Primer, a new proprietary blend of feed supplements, does just that. Developed and tested at the Kent Nutrition Group Research Farm on the highest stressed animals possible, cattle receiving Kent Performance Primer appeared to be more successful in dealing with environmental, physiological and psychological stressors over a 56-day study.

High-risk calves sourced through southeastern sale barns were transferred 528 miles to dry-lot pens at the Kent Nutrition Group Research Farm in late June and late September. Cattle received a base diet of ground dry hay, whole shelled corn, wet corn gluten feed, and Kent Co-Product Balancer 667R. Cattle on treatment received Kent Performance Primer top-dressed daily according to tagged feed rate recommendation (0.25 lb per head per day). Cattle were weighed two days in a row at initiation (arrival and sorting), and again on Day 28 and 56. Feed calls were made in conjunction with the South Dakota State University (SDSU) bunk scoring system, and delivery and intake were recorded daily. Cattle health was monitored daily and cattle were treated according to farm SOP and in coordination with a veterinarian. Apparent noted cattle stressors that occurred during the study included environmental (heat and cold stress), physiological (transportation, dietary changes, castration), and psychological (weaning, co-mingling).

Over the first 28 days, cattle receiving Kent Performance Primer consumed over 15% more dry matter, and gained over 45% more compared to the control, resulting in a 20% advantage in feed to gain. These advantages were also present during the second four-week interval as calves receiving Kent Performance Primer ate over 13% more feed, gained over 34% more daily weight, and converted 14% more efficiently. As we know, intake drives everything – including immune support. Cattle that received Kent Performance Primer received 11% less treatments, including an 11.6 percentage point reduction in second treatments.

Singularly, the components of Kent Performance Primer have all been reported to support intake, growth, and/or immune function. NutriVantage® for beef has been reported to improve intake by 10%, and average daily gain by 0.25 lbs per head per day. Kent Natural Yeast also has been reported to display similar benefits with intake and performance, while also boasting significant benefits in palatability and intake preference. The addition of supplemental chromium has also been shown to improve performance, largely believed to be the result of improved insulin sensitivity. NutriVantage for beef, Kent Natural Yeast, and chromium have also been reported to aid in the support of the immune system. When combined with mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS), which have been reported to support growth performance and gut health, it appears that these supplements work synergistically – supporting performance even in times of stress. It’s hard not to get excited about results like that.

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