Inclusion of Yeast in Diet Increases Bull Beef Returns

UK - A new bull beef trial at Harper Adams University College suggests the dietary inclusion of a fermented yeast culture can increase margins by at least £13 per bull.
calendar icon 22 August 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The study looked at the effect of feeding Rumenco’s XPLS fermented yeast culture on the performance of intensively finished dairy-bred bulls fed ad lib cereals right through to slaughter.

The trial commenced in mid August 2011 when 36 January to February born bulls (26 Holsteins and 10 Continental cross Holsteins) weighing around 320kg at seven months old were spilt into two groups of 18. One group received a standard Harper Adams 14% crude protein barley beef ration, the other group were fed the same ration supplemented with 0.4 per cent XPLS yeast culture. All the cattle were housed in straw-bedded yards with free access to straw from feed racks.

“Overall the performance of all the bulls was good,” reports Harper Adams University College beef specialist Simon Marsh. “The Holsteins recorded slaughter weights of 555kg at 13.4 months old compared to the EBLEX target of 540kg at 13 months of age. The Continental crosses were slaughtered at 619kg at 13.7 months compared to the EBLEX target of 570kg at 14 months.

“What was interesting though was that the XPLS fed bulls recorded a significantly higher daily liveweight gain compared to the control group (see table 1) due to an increased slaughter weight (+11kg) and earlier slaughter (6 days),” he points out.

“Based on the costs prevailing at the time of the study, the highest margin over feed was recorded with the XPLS fed bulls, which was increased by £12 (see table 2). However, the margin over feed would have been significantly higher if the bulls had been fed the fermented yeast culture from three months old. What’s more, if other costs such as machinery water and electricity are costed in at 15p per day this is worth an additional £0.90 per bull, resulting in an overall 4.2% margin increase of £13 per bull.”

Mr Marsh says that with the recent increases in cereal prices it’s tough to make a margin, so the use of potentially cost-effective feed supplements, such as yeast cultures, that can help boost daily liveweight gain and FCR are well worth evaluating.

“But whatever yeast you feed, it’s important to use a product with proven effectiveness and solid trial data behind it. There are a myriad of different ones on the market, so go for something that works and has been independently proven,” he says.

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