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Levucell leads to improved performance

Sector News Sector News19-6-2020

After feeding their beef cattle Levucell as part of a ForFarmers trial, Gloucester based beef farmers, Andrew and Tom Herring were so pleased with the positive impact of the live yeast supplement on the performance of their livestock that they kept it as part of the farm’s TMR. 

Tom farms in partnership with his family as part of A B Herring and Partners, finishing around 1,200 head of beef cattle a year, with the help of three full-time members of staff. 

Tom Herring

Business model

“We buy in a variety of different cattle breeds, at 12 months old or above and take the animals right through to finishing,” explains Tom. “Cattle are brought on to the unit all year round and anything that we buy in winter will be housed straight away, whilst those purchased in spring and summer will go out to graze. We have around 300 acres of ground for grazing and 1,500 acres is then dedicated to growing maize silage, grass silage and cereal crops, which provide us with feed for the cattle and straw for bedding.”

“Feed wise we rely heavily on grass silage, maize silage, wheat and barley, which are all put though a mixer wagon and fed as a TMR. We will add in some soya hulls for extra fibre, minerals and molasses, but apart from that, we like to limit the ‘extras’ we have to buy in. We usually get through around 20 tonnes of feed a day, which works out at about 22kg of feed a head, per day.”

Levucell trial

Tom Herring showing us around the cattle sheds

In March 2019, Tom and his family were approached by ForFarmers Beef Specialist, Katherine Muirhead, to see whether they would be willing to take part in a trial to test the impact of Levucell live yeast on finishing beef cattle.

“We are always looking at ways to improve cattle performance and are willing to try new things, so I felt that trialling the live yeast would be a good idea,” continues Tom. “Recently, we had also invested in a new electronic weighing system on the farm, so I knew that we would be able to closely and accurately measure any improvements in cattle performance that the Levucell helped achieve.”

“I am conscious that the diet we feed our cattle is quite ‘potent’, with high levels of starch, and that this can cause rumen instability and digestive issues. I was keen to see the impact that Levucell would have on stabilising rumen performance and therefore improving feed efficiency and weight gains.” 

The trial ran for 15 weeks and comprised of a control group of 108 cattle and a trial group of 118 that were housed before the start of the trial. Both groups were fed the unit’s normal finishing die, but the trial group was supplemented with 25g of Levucell 30 per head, per day. 

Results

“The trial ended in February 2020 and I was really pleased with the results,” says Tom. “Animals were weighed every three weeks, at the same time of day for each weighing, and at the end of the trial period, finishing liveweights were much higher in the Levucell group compared to the control; with final average weights 51kg higher, averaging an improvement of 370g, per day

Levucell trial results table

“The cattle in the Levucell group also displayed physical signs that reinforced the positive outcomes we recorded in the data with animals suffering from less scour, showing signs of better condition and better rumen fill - all of which indicate improvements in rumen stability, feed intakes and overall performance.” 

Going forward

Tom has been pleased with the trial results and especially impressed with the way that Levucell helps to reduce growth checks that sometime affect newly bought cattle. 

“We have continued to use Levucell since the trial and will carry on incorporating it into the cattle’s feed for the foreseeable future,” concludes Tom. “The nature of our business means that the cattle we buy in can have had a variety of diets before they come on to our system, and sometimes cattle can suffer from growth checks or stagnated growth rates whilst their rumen takes time to adapt to a new diet. With the addition of Levucell these checks don’t seem to happen, and cattle actually do really well in the first few weeks on a new diet.”

For more information

For more details on our Levucell beef products or if you would like to get in contact with one of our Beef Specialists please contact us here.