Chris Cassady, Ph.D., BioZyme® Inc., Beef Technical Sales Manager
Profitability in beef production is dependent upon output revenue exceeding input costs. Elevated calf prices have pushed gross returns yet profit margins have shrunk due to the rising cost of production. A general rule of thumb is that at least 60% of your operational expenses are associated with feed in a normal year. Considering price hikes due to widespread drought, inflation and limited supply, this guideline could severely underestimate annual expenses as this year ends. It’s a challenge to find affordable ways to maximize the genetic potential of your herd through conventional feeding methods. While cutting costs is one option, just remember, what we feed our animals dictates the output they give us. Treat nutrition as an investment in the genetics you have selected rather than a cost to the bottom line.
A cost is defined as an amount that must be paid to obtain something, while an investment is expending funds with the expectation of achieving a profit. Often, producers look at output potential as an investment through genetics because many have spent generations building their existing herds. Alternatively, they also view premium nutrition, the tool it takes to reach that capacity, as a stingy, financially draining cost. If you were to buy a new truck, you would protect that investment with the best insurance policy you could afford, not the cheapest in the marketplace. Your animals are no different! Giving your premium genetics the opportunity to thrive with superior nutrition will pay dividends to your bottom line, just like maintaining that new pickup.
Investment opportunities in cattle feeding come from many technologies such as ionophores, probiotics, prebiotics and so on. Each has its own mode of action related to a desired outcome and not all are universal in their applications. Amaferm® is a prebiotic resulting from the proprietary fermentation of Aspergillus oryzae. Research has proven that Amaferm not only stimulates fungal branching and enzymatic activity in the rumen, but the growth rates of fibrolytic and amylolytic bacteria are significantly improved. These microbes work synergistically to hasten the rate of degradation of feeds in the rumen, allowing for greater digestibility. If you think about a 10% improvement in dry matter digestibility by using Amaferm, you can save nearly 15% in hay costs throughout the year by just giving your animal the ability to unlock more nutrition from within.
Speaking of improved nutrient utilization, those rumen microbes are responsible for other nutritional opportunities for the animal. Substantially more rumen bacteria growth by feeding Amaferm, will on average, result in a 16% improvement in VFA production and an additional 143g of microbial protein. In lay terms, feeding Amaferm is nutritionally equivalent to supplying a pound of dry distiller’s grains per day without any additional capital or labor. When distiller’s grains are $240/ton, a 4-cent daily investment in Amaferm yields 12 cents of additional nutritional value. A 3:1 ROI in nutritional equivalence along with improved breeding condition and better gut health opens the door for improved conception rates, heavier calves and fewer treatments. Considering the robust feeder calf market, just think about the value of each weaned calf, and what as little as 3% improvement in conception rates can do for your bottom line.
The initial commitment to any investment can be nerve-wracking, but remember, the wealthiest Wall Street investors didn’t make their money dabbling in penny stocks. Nutrition has the biggest impact on your annual input costs. Therefore, more efficient utilization of feed ingredients is paramount for individual and industry-wide profitability. Just like buying Amazon or Netflix stock, placing your trust in value-based premium nutrition is an investment in the performance and health of the genetics that you’ve spent generations to build.
To learn more about the 100-plus studies that have been published about Amaferm, visit Amaferm Research.
Put Amaferm to work in your herd with products made by BioZyme® like VitaFerm® Concept•Aid®. To discover which VitaFerm product is right for your herd or to locate a dealer near you, visit www.vitaferm.com.