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  • Lancaster / Wi

Energy Products

Improving Feed Efficiency

When most hear the word “energy,” they automatically tend to think in terms of “calories.” While all biological components in feed can theoretically be converted to caloric energy, not all are actually usable by the animal. For example, more and more feedstuffs are being bred for improved durability to increase crop yields. However, these crops are often either indigestible or require more time to digest by animals and the microorganisms in their gut, thereby reducing the amount of energy available.

Digestion in ruminant animals is largely carried out by three main types of microorganisms, proteolytic (grain/protein digesters), cellulolytic (forage/fiber digesters), and  amylolytic (sugar/starch digesters) bacteria. These microflora live as both competitors and allies in the gut, aiding digestion of feed components that would otherwise be unusable (e.g., lignins, fibers, etc.). As food moves through each stomach of ruminant animals during digestion, resident bacteria travel with it, substantially reducing their numbers about every 8 hours. Depending on the quality of the feed, it can take 4-6 hours to regenerate sufficient numbers — this is called the lag phase.

With any feeding program, it is important to remember that you are not just feeding the animal, you are also feeding the microorganisms living within it. Feeding mainly grains, for example, would promote the growth of proteolytic bacteria and prevent significant growth of cellulolytic and amylolytic species, causing an imbalance. Simply adding a probiotic to the feed would not be enough to overcome the imbalance or support rapid growth of suppressed microflora if the food source is not sufficiently available for digestion.

However, feeding an energy source that is 100% available together with probiotics and enzymes would induce a catalytic response from amylolytic and slow-growing cellulolytic bacteria that would reduce the lag phase by as much as 2-3 hours! This would make the energy of the diet much higher by increasing the digestion and absorption of nutrients. As a result, the animal would not require as much feed and produce more, thereby reducing costs.

Catalytic energy products made by Free Choice Enterprises, Ltd., provide livestock with a 100% available and highly palatable non-genetically modified energy (food) source, as well as select probiotics and enzymes, to stimulate faster growth and larger numbers of beneficial rumen microflora, reducing the lag phase considerably. Consequently, digestion is much more efficient and results in a significant increase in feed efficiency.

Our catalytic energy products are also a superior antidote for nitrates, among other dietary issues. Although nitrates are a readily available nitrogen source, their conversion into proteins/amino acids by rumen bacteria requires extra energy that is not readily available. Thus, feedstuffs high in nitrates decrease digestion and absorption, leading to imbalances. While our catalytic energy products may not increase production under high nitrate conditions, they will enable the use of feedstuffs that would otherwise be harmful to animal health.

It is important to realize that ruminants can overeat up to 50% to overcome deficiencies in their diets. So why provide something that is not the factor limiting production and animal health? Why not make the most of your feed? Our catalytic energy products will pay for themselves by promoting the utilization of your forages, so check them out today!