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Q & A Reducing induction times with ProAgni ProTect

Sheep in yards

Effective management of induction is without doubt, the most important aspect of a lamb feedlot program.

Safety at induction is paramount, and relies on:

  • a quality rumen pH premix formulation eg. ProTect S added to your grain
  • the delivery of a correctly measured amount of ration to each lamb daily (preferably in multiple daily feeds)

Q. Why are induction times important when transitioning to grain-based feeds?

A. focus on induction times is important because time and money can be wasted if a swift and safe induction program is not in place. Delivery of a consistent daily amount of grain per lamb, increasing over a set number of days with regular feeds* (twice daily) will deliver a real reduction in the time it takes for lambs to achieve terminal intake (full feed intake).

Induction can be completed in as little as 7 days when implementing this program. Some practised feeders are able to implement a 5-day program with no mortalities (speak to the ProAgni team for more information on this program).

*Available fibre is required through this period to add to the safety equation and shouldn’t be removed for 4-5 days post terminal intake being achieved.

Q. How does ProAgni Protect work during transition?

ProAgni Protect S crumble works on a number of aspects of rumen pH management to provide a level of safety that enables a more rapid induction.

An important part of safety in a grain feeding program is to add buffers to the diet to help minimise the fall in rumen pH (acidosis) that occurs following the ingestion of grain. Protect S crumble contains a number of compounds that assist in maintaining a more productive rumen pH following intake of grain.

In addition, ProTect S focuses on increasing the vibrancy of rumen microbiology with an emphasis on producing higher levels of volatile fatty acids used in energy production and reducing the levels of lactic acid produced. Lactic acid production is a normal part of digestion when lambs are on a grain diet.

The result is better maintenance of rumen pH levels that support improved growth, health and feed efficiency in lambs.

Q. How to prepare for transition and what to look out for?

A. The most effective approach to an induction is to bring all lambs up to terminal intake with each lamb having access to a feed face that allows each to eat a similar amount of grain at the same time as all other lambs. This is best achieved by a trail or trough feeding technique.

Warning – An induction program that utilises the incremental opening of lick feeders in a confined area or pen, does not allow even access to grain by all lambs and increases the chance of mortality. The behavior set up in that style of program persists throughout the feeding period, leading to shy feeders, inconsistent intake, sub-clinical acidosis and many lambs on feed for long periods of time, reducing feed efficiency and increasing the cost of each kilogram gained.

Q. What can ProAgni ProTect S crumble do for my livestock and bottom line?  

A rapid induction program with no mortalities is very achievable and a great way to increase the margin in any feedlot program. ProAgni Protect S crumble, when coupled with good animal and infrastructure management through the feeding period, delivers robust rumen pH management that allows for ‘no fibre feeding’ leading to more rapid weight gain, improved feed efficiency and reduced time on feed.

Lambs with high growth potential, have a high requirement for a range of micro-nutrients that support lambs to grow more rapidly and to remain healthy through the feeding program. ProAgni Protect S crumble is designed to deliver high levels of the most available and effective forms of vitamins, minerals and trace elements that allow lambs to perform at their genetic potential.

Feedlot lambs have a huge potential for daily weight gain and feed efficiency. The genetic potential over the past couple of decades has redefined growth performance – nearing that of growing pigs. For us to achieve the same potential, we need to be as focused on nutrition and management as our brothers in the pig industry. That will require a refinement in our thinking about induction, the feeding period and better managing curfew and transport phases.

Act early to capture the best value from dry feeds and stubble

Stubble in field

Regardless of whether you’re in a beef or sheep operation, dry feed utilisation is an important issue. In our climate, broadly speaking, we have periods when standing dry feed and stubble are an important part of our grazing and nutritional program.

What’s really clear is, regardless of region, the quality of standing dry feed and stubble at its best early in the season. As these feeds age and are exposed to weather events, including rain, their value to our animals is reduced.

It’s for this reason that every effort should be made during the early part of the season to turn as much of our standing dry feed and stubble into weight gain, fertility (and wool growth) as we possibly can. That’s particularly important in a year when feed is less abundant.

Dry feed utilisation using intelligent supplements

Early in the season standing dry feed and stubbles have residual seed, grain and leaf material that when supported with an intelligently designed supplement, delivers a better production result.

The most cost effective ‘intelligent supplements’ are in lick form. They bring a range of high quality ingredients together to meet the protein, energy and micro-nutritional requirements of animals in our production systems;

  • Protien
    Proteins that come from a range of different sources that are either by-pass, rumen degradable or non-protein nitrogen (urea) along with new technology that delivers a significant increase in rumen microbial mass supporting better digestion, health and growth.
  • Energy
    Providing highly fermentable compounds is key to driving higher levels of rumen microbial activity, offering the best chance of standing dry feed and stubble to be used efficiently.
  • Micro Nutrition
    Supporting animals with increased rates of available nutrients is important to maintain health, support breeder fertility and allow progeny to grow to their genetic potential at a time when performance is expected to be lower. Reducing incidence of pinkeye, snotty nose and coughing are part of that.

As the season rolls on towards February, the best early feeds are degraded from exposure to summer weather events and the best material has been consumed. The feeds that remain are most often incapable of achieving maintenance.

When feed values have deteriorated so that stalks and little else remain, supplement’s can no longer deliver the value they do when feeds are younger and fresher. A supplement is no substitute for feed and should be removed if supplementary feeding is not introduced.

ProAgni have utilised the latest technology to develop an effective but simple to use powdered lick that’s moisture resistant and designed to deal with dry feeding challenges.

ProAgni ProDry is a powdered lick designed to deliver quality protein and energy supplements to maximise digestion efficiency and meet the ever increasing micro-nutrient demand breeding and production animals have whilst grazing standing dry feeds and stubble.

Supplementing breeding and production animals with a low but well managed quantity of grain whilst grazing standing dry feeds and stubble can also be very effective if adequate measures to manage over consumption and even distribution are taken.

There are a number of key feeding infrastructure and animal management components that need to be achieved and are critical to any safe and successful grain assist program.

When using a ProAgni Lick formulation:

  • Provide 1 lick container (half drench drum or similar) per 50 hd for sheep.
  • Provide 1 lick container (1/2-1/3 200ltr drum or similar) per 20 hd for cattle.
  • Make available at common camps or water points initially.
  • Once animals are engaged with the lick, place at intervals across the paddock.
  • Drill holes in the sides of containers as water will not penetrate lick.

When considering a Grain Assist program:

  • Add ProAgni ProTect S (Sheep) or ProTect C (Cattle) to grain for micro-nutrition support and to manage the risk of acidosis.
  • Induction management is crucial to a safe grain assist program.
  • Controlling the number of animals in each mob is an important management tool.
  • The number of grain feeders available is important to drive even distribution.

Target dose rate:

20g/hd/day sheep and 100g/hd/day cattle