Reproduction is the most important trait in beef cattle production. There are many factors that have a tremendous impact on reproductive performance of cattle; however, nutrition is one of the few factors producers help control. Depending on when nutrients are limited, reproduction is one of the first functions to be sacrificed. To meet the nutritional requirements, cow-calf producers have found investing in a mineral program that includes Concept•Aid® will help them see increased rates in fertility and pounds of calves weaned.
In a recent study conducted, pregnancy rates, calving rates and weaning weights from nearly 5,000 breeding age heifers and cows were collected from across the United States. Five breeds from both the purebred and commercial cattle segments were represented, with the data being compared with national cow data from independent studies.
“An animal uses nutrients for lots of different purposes, and reproduction is like a luxury to the animal,” said Dr. Lynsey Whitacre, Business Development and Field Support for BioZyme® Inc., who analyzed the data. “We typically associate nutrients with maintenance and general health, but livestock won’t start putting nutrients toward reproduction until they are available. It’s a luxury to the animal, not a necessity, so if there aren’t extra nutrients there, they won’t even try toward reproduction because they will keep the nutrients to maintain themselves and not maintain the pregnancy.”
The study revealed that females who were fed Concept•Aid showed increased fertility and reproductive success compared to the national average. Pregnancy rates for those on Concept•Aid were recorded at 94%, compared to the national average of 91%. When specific geographic regions are compared, even greater success is seen in cows supplemented with the BIoZyme product. For example, the Texas cow-calf standardized performance analysis (SPA) data reports a pregnancy rate of 88.8%, but of the 1,700 cows bred in Texas and reported to the Concept•Aid database, the pregnancy rate is 96.2%. Similarly, in Oklahoma the SPA data reported an average pregnancy rate of 89.4%. The average pregnancy rate of cows in Oklahoma in the Concept•Aid database is 93.8%. These statistics further demonstrate enhanced reproductive success using Concept•Aid with Amaferm® in purebred and commercial cow-calf operations.
“Amaferm helps them digest and absorb the nutrients better that they are already getting, and helps with intake,” Dr. Whitacre said. “The idea behind Concept•Aid is to provide really high-quality vitamins and minerals used in breeding, so it helps supplement whatever they are getting from the pasture or whatever their feed source is.”
Perhaps the most significant data in the study showed that Concept•Aid doesn’t only aid in getting cows bred, but more importantly, keeping them bred. In addition to an increase in pregnancy rates while on Concept•Aid, more live calves were born with more pounds of calves weaned, putting more dollars of profit in the producers’ pockets if they sell at weaning. Cows on Concept•Aid had a birth rate of 93.6%, while the national average is nearly six points lower at 87.8%. And at weaning, cows that were fed Concept•Aid, weaned a calf that weighed, on average, 590 pounds, compared to the national average of just 531 pounds.
“With weaning weight, we saw quite heavier calves coming off our Concept•Aid cattle. Not only did feeding Concept•Aid help with the pregnancy, but it also helped the animal maintain itself through the lactation period and helped the calf also,” Dr. Whitacre said. “We wanted to show the positive effects Concept•Aid has on breeding and calving rates as well as the lasting impact it has on the calf, and the weaning weight data helped us understand that a little bit better. Hopefully our customers will see the rewards they are getting for using a premier product like Concept•Aid.”
In addition to the Amaferm advantage, Concept•Aid offers proteinated trace minerals (Copper, Zinc, and Manganese), that play a critical role in reproduction. These are the most stable, bioavailable organic trace minerals on the market. Concept•Aid is also high in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that plays an essential role for general cell wall integrity and muscle repair and is proven to be helpful in short-term periods of stress. Calving is a stress that requires repair of the reproductive track. Furthermore, Concept•Aid is available in different Phosphorus levels that will complement various grains, by-products, or stored forages you may be feeding.