3 beef management trends to watch in 2018
PRINCETON, N.J. - What does the New Year have in store for you? That’s a good question. The beef marketplace continues to shift, making it vital for you stay on top of trends. Plenty of challenges exist—falling behind your fellow competitors is one risk you can’t afford to take.
“Expect many of the current trends to continue, such as the move to antibiotic-free production. This trend is here to stay; ignore it at your peril,” says Dr. Elliot Block ARM & HAMMER™ Senior Research Fellow & Director of Technology. “These long-term, fundamental management shifts due to changes in market demand will change how you do business today—and tomorrow. Meanwhile, you must also continue to emphasize animal health and efficiency.”
Here are three very real opportunities for you to do just that. You can positively affect the nutrition and health of your cattle along with the financial performance of your operation.
Ramp up antibiotic-free production
More than half of the 25 largest fast food and fast casual restaurant chains in the U.S. now have policies that either limit or eliminate the use of antibiotics in the production of the meat and/or poultry on their menu.1
And that is only expected to increase. For instance, Wendy’s just announced an even more stringent antibiotic policy for producers of its beef2.
What if you could get a leg up in the antibiotic-free market?
Researchers are learning more every day about how you can positively influence animal health and well-being through nutrition solutions and decreasing reliance on antibiotics through tools like the Refined Functional Carbohydrates™ (RFC™) in CELMANAX™.
“RFCs have been shown to agglutinate (bind) important pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli, as well as help control several species of Clostridia and Cryptosporidia,” explains Dr. Block. “When included in the ration, RFCs help animals fight back against these challenges and enhance key performance parameters like average daily gain to improve feed conversion rates—which is incredibly important in beef production. This improved efficiency helps you reduce feed costs while boosting animal health at the same time.”
Clamp down on Clostridia
Clostridia bacteria aren’t just your neighbor’s problem. They thrive on your place, too. “Clostridia species have been identified in the vast majority of fecal and feed samples from operations just like yours,” notes Dr. Block.
From these samples from all over the country, thousands of clostridia isolates, or strains, have been harvested. What does that mean to you?
These clostridia isolates include well-known toxigenic species such as Clostridium perfringens, which has a negative impact on gut health and can lead to digestive issues such as hemorrhagic bowel syndrome (HBS).
The isolates also include non-toxigenic Clostridia species that produce metabolic end products that have a negative impact on rumen efficiency, thereby reducing ration effectiveness and decreasing animal performance.
This is a big deal because the bacteria live in the soil, constantly making their way into feedstuffs and causing various challenges to your animal’s health and productivity.
Animals constantly ingest low-level counts of clostridia because of this widespread, underlying presence, increasing your cattle’s vulnerability to high-stress events. Even low levels of clostridia per pound of feed add up quickly because of the large amount of feed animals consume each day. Problems arise as bacterial loads increase and stresses create a tipping point for disease and performance deficiencies.
Taking on bad bacteria
“By targeting each of these groups we are able to identify which combination of Targeted Microbial Solutions™ in our CERTILLUS™ portfolio—which features proprietary Bacillus strains—would best inhibit the growth of these organisms on-farm,” Block explains.
The resulting decrease in harmful clostridia enhances cattle health by increasing feed efficiency and reducing digestive upsets, off-feed events, inconsistent feed intakes and more severe outcomes such as HBS.
Additionally, harnessing Bacillus over the long term results in changes to the microbial diversity that makes up the Microbial Terroir™, the unique microbiota that make up your operation’s environment. This change in pathogen diversity helps lower harmful bacterial loads in animal GI tracts, such as clostridia, without antibiotics and helps enhance animal health and efficiency at the same time.
Hot pursuit of better marbling