Field Observation Trial – Paynesville, MN
By Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist
Heat stress in the Midwest is a common occurrence, but not necessarily a consistent one. We are subject to periods of hot weather, but the heat index can be quite variable, depending on the humidity and wind speed. Any aid to maintaining feed intake during heat stress must be effective when applied at the first onset of heat yet economical enough to use for an extended period. A producer would probably leave it in the ration during periods when the heat index is not necessarily oppressive.
An electrolyte-containing product (Hydro-Lac®) by Form AFeed, Inc. (Stewart, MN) has been accepted by many producers as effective in maintaining feed intake during periods of heat stress. Last summer, KNG demonstrated that BoVantage® is effective in maintaining intakes during heat stress (compared to no additive) in a field trial at a Northwest Iowa feed yard. A recent observation trial compared BoVantage® to Hydro- Lac® during a two-month period from July 19-September 16, 2013.
A single source of Holstein feeder cattle was split into two groups with a visual sort by our cooperating producer. The producer was convinced that the gate sort provided two very comparable, similar weight groups of cattle. There were 62 steers on the BoVantage® treatment and 59 steers on the competitor’s electrolyte product. During the trial, one of the competitor’s steers was sold and the “Head Days” shown in the table below were adjusted to reflect that action.
The purpose of this trial was not to prove superior performance for BoVantage®, but to prove equal intake stimulation compared to our competitor at a more competitive cost. At the very least, it appears that was the case. The retail cost for BoVantage® was about 17 cents and the competitor around 43 cents/head/day.
We used BoVantage® Dairy Pak in the trial at approximately 4 oz/hd/day in a Precision Dairy Beef diet fed through a self feeder. We used the Dairy Pak because with larger cattle, the inclusion rate would have gotten fairly high with our BoVantage® product for incoming cattle.
The producer commented that the competitor’s cattle actually had an environmental advantage due to pen placement for breeze and animal movement. After seeing these results, we should be able to confidently recommend our BoVantage® product because it maintains (or stimulates) intakes during heat stress at a substantial savings (26¢/head/day) when compared to Hydro-Lac®.
Hydro-Lac® is a registered trademark of Form AFeed, Inc.