Pre-treating beef rations with a Trichoderma reesei-derived fungal extract can increase average daily gain (ADG) by up to 13.4% without any increase in dry matter intake (DMI), according to a recent trial at Agri-Research Center in Texas.
The study used two groups of 90 Aberdeen Angus-cross heifers fed the same ration either with or without application of the ration pre-treatment VistaPre-T. Improvements in ADG were greatest during the first 30 days of the trial (+13.4%), with the entire 60-day growing period showing a 5.9% gain. Treatment continued through finishing until day 180, resulting in cattle that were on average 11kg heavier at slaughter.
“With no significant increases in DMI, it’s clear that the additional growth performance was coming directly from better digestion and utilisation of the ration,” states Dr Nicola Walker, AB Vista’s Global Ruminant Technical Manager. “Measured feed conversion ratio (FCR) improved by similar percentages, ranging from 4.0% for the entire grower-finisher period to 11.6% for the first 30 days.”
Improving fibre digestibility
Ration pre-treatment works by roughening and creating pits in the surface of the fibre prior to ingestion. This increases the rate and extent of colonisation by fibre-digesting rumen microbes, reducing the lag time before breakdown in the rumen begins and improving overall fibre digestibility.
“Fibre is an important energy source in beef rations, even in high-starch finishing diets,” Dr Walker continues. “However, the rumen digestibility of the plant cell walls that make up most of that fibre is typically less than 65%, and when rumen conditions are compromised – such as during bouts of acidosis – can be as low as 35%.
“This trial highlights just how much extra performance can be extracted from the same feed when fibre digestibility is improved, such as by applying a pre-treatment like VistaPre-T. The result is a significant gain in FCE and ADG across the entire growing and finishing period, improving both margins and overall profitability.”
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