Choices are everywhere. And that is true for cattle producers looking for the best protein supplementation for their herd. Cattle producers have several options of various brands and multiple forms of protein to distribute. There are blocks, tubs and loose mineral. But what is the best option for a producer who wants to make sure he or she is getting the most bang for their buck?
VitaFerm® offers both tubs and loose mineral protein options for the cow-calf producer to choose from. Both forms have the same nutritional guarantee, and both include the Amaferm® advantage. Amaferm is a precision prebiotic that amplifies nutrient supply by promoting intake while increasing digestibility and absorption. Amaferm is research-proven to provide a 17% increase in forage utilization.
The Convenience of Tubs
The primary advantage of the VitaFerm Concept•Aid® Protein Tub, that contains the Concept•Aid breeding mineral and 20% protein ideal for feeding 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding is that it is self-contained and easy to distribute. The 200-pound tubs are relatively easy to scatter across a large pasture; their bright orange color makes them highly visible to the producer. The VitaFerm tubs are formulated with a cooked-tub technology that relies on molasses, which helps control intake, while other companies use a chemically hardened method adding corn syrup and other ingredients to bind the minerals together.
“The advantage to cooked molasses in the VitaFerm tubs is that the only way to soften the tub is moisture in the air, giving it a unique way to soften and control intake. The cows can lick all day on the tub, but until it softens, they are not going to get more of it. If managed correctly, with the right number of cows, our tubs control intake almost by themselves,” said Kevin Glaubius, BioZyme’s Director of Nutrition.
In cooked tubs, a set amount of a more expensive protein ingredient is often used to ensure proper protein levels are met since space in the formulation is at a premium. And this is where the benefits of a loose protein mineral mix begin. More flexibility in protein ingredients and more formula space exist with a loose, free-choice mineral or protein meal. Since space isn’t restricted to a tub, there are simply more options to choose from.
Saving Dollars with Loose Mineral
BioZyme offers a loose supplement – VitaFerm Concept•Aid Protein Meal – with similar properties as the Tub, a combination of Concept•Aid breeding mineral and natural protein in a granular form for beef cattle. In a loose formulation salt is added to control intake. It is specifically designed for reproductive success when fed 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding.
Producers don’t sacrifice any nutrition if they do offer loose mineral instead of tubs. Many of the same high-quality ingredients are used along with less expensive protein sources in the loose mixes, but since molasses is not in the mix, there is added cost savings.
Another cost savings comes with the packaging. The bag that the loose mineral comes in costs less than 50 cents. The tub, although convenient, adds about $6-7 additional cost to the product; that is money spent that your cows are not consuming. For every pallet of tubs purchased, you could have purchased a new ground mineral feeder to feed the loose mineral.
Introducing the New Power Keg
For producers looking for a convenient and economical wintertime protein and mineral solution who are not in calving season, BioZyme® has just introduced the VitaFerm Power Keg. The all-natural 20% protein keg is highly fortified, so no additional vitamins and minerals need supplemented when fed on low- to average-quality pastures. The 200-pound pressed keg comes on an orange plastic base to keep it out of dirt and water. It does not contain the Concept•Aid breeding mineral, but is an ideal supplement to feed with low and average-quality forages prior to calving.
The choices are endless. You can choose a more convenient product, or you can choose the same quality nutrition as a loose mineral and save dollars on packaging for your calving cows. Or, you can try the new Power Keg for cows that are not in their last trimester of gestation or calving. Whichever option you choose, your herd will benefit from the added protein combined with the Amaferm advantage.