Steve Sachtleben, PhD, PAS – KNG Beef Research and Nutrition
The issues with traditional intake limiters for cattle on pasture or in drylot are cost and availability of ingredients. About two years ago, KNG set forth to provide our customers with a new feed-intake-regulating program that was competitive yet approached the opportunity from a different direction.
In early 2012, cattle at the KNG Product Development Center were placed on the first trial to evaluate the initial step of a new intake-modifying program. This research involved several hundred calves and was conducted over 18 months, resulting in a program that will replace the current Exact Beef program with one which excels in limiting intake. A field trial evaluating the new program versus Exact Beef was recently conducted. Approximately 500 head of cattle were utilized in this field trial with 2-3 fields of cattle per treatment.
The use of intake modifiers is not an exact science and intakes across cattle weights can and will vary considerably. Things that may affect intake are cattle size, cattle body condition, feeder location, pasture availability, pasture quality, weather conditions, stocking rate, and feeder management.
The studies conducted at the Product Development Center involved three sets of calves from 520 pounds to 781 pounds. Feeds were mixed either 50:50, Exact Beef and cracked corn or 50:50 Test Feed and cracked corn. Trial length was approximately 90 days per replicate.
Data from these three sets of cattle clearly show that the Test Feed (Kent Exact Beef Controlled Intake Technology, CIT) restricted intakes of cattle to levels similar to those fed Exact Beef (average 1.35 vs. 1.17% BW, respectively). The feed efficiency of calves fed the CIT was 4.07 on an as-fed basis versus 4.37 for the Exact Beef group. Rates of gain were also similar (2.05 vs. 2.26 lb/hd/day for Exact Beef and CIT, respectively).
Based on the results from the Product Development Center, a field trial was designed for implementation in south-central Illinois in a pasture situation where Exact Beef and Purina Accuration had been fed. The trial started on May 17 and terminated in late August 2013. Four hundred and ninety-three head of cattle were used in this trial, with pen starting weights ranging from 400 to 650 pounds. Cattle were divided into five separate pastures with three fields on the CIT Diet and two pasture groups offered the Exact Beef program.
The Exact Beef CIT group received a ration with 25% of the new technology feed and 75% concentrate while the Exact Beef group received a ration with 20% Exact Beef and 80% concentrate. The original design had called for each program to have a 20:80 mix but the producer changed the levels for some unknown reason.
The trial lasted for a period from 94-101 days, depending on the location. The data are summarized in Table 2.
Data revealed that cattle fed the CIT consumed feed at bodyweight percentages similar to that of cattle fed Exact Beef. Intakes in the former calves were more consistent than those animals fed Exact Beef. No issues with the cattle, health or otherwise, were observed.
The Exact Beef CIT was fed in meal form and delivered in bulk with no bridging or flow problems whatsoever. This is a significant handling improvement compared to the Exact Beef, which tended to bridge when delivered in bulk.