Angus at Work

Tool to Improve Cattle Gut Health

March 16, 2022 Angus Beef Bulletin Season 1 Episode 4
Angus at Work
Tool to Improve Cattle Gut Health
Show Notes Transcript

A tool to prevent scours, improve weaning weights and increase feedlot performance — Kasey learned more about this science-backed, natural product at the Range Beef Cow Symposium. Listen in as she chats with the Farmatan team about the importance of gut health.

Hello and welcome to Angus at Work. I'm your host, Kasey Brown. Trade shows can be both incredibly informative and maybe a little anxiety inducing, or maybe that's just me. But I generally go through, I scout for the cool free things and I avoid eye contact unless I already have specific questions. However, a former intern turned field editor and very good friend, Paige Nelson, showed me the error of my ways a few years ago. Her method gets far more information and way cooler free things. It's also so, so simple that I kick myself for not doing this earlier. And guess what listeners? I will share with you this bit of wisdom.

Kasey Brown:

Next time you're at a trade show, go by the booths with confidence. Simply go up to a booth and say, "Tell me about your product." And then once you get a bit more information, you can ask, "What do you have available here?" You don't have to walk by slowly trying to read the signage nonchalantly without gathering attention. Again, maybe that's just me. But I did this at the Range Beef Cow Symposium, and I learned about a really cool product that was interesting enough that I went back and did a podcast interview. This is certainly not an advertisement, just something cool that I had not heard of before that sounds like it could really do some good to improve the gut health and immunity of your cattle. So let's dig in.

Kasey Brown:

I am coming to you from Rapid City, South Dakota, for the Range Beef Cow Symposium. We are going to talk about protecting your calf's health before that calf is born. And so we're in the trade show here at Range Beef Cow, and I'll let you introduce yourself.

Paul Mitchell:

Thanks Kasey, Paul Mitchell. We're with the Farmatan product. We have a business in Des Moines, Iowa, called Imogene Ingredients, and we handle Farmatan. We bring it in from Europe and we feed it to both cows and baby calves. And it's excellent to prevent cryptosporidium, coccidiosis, clostridia and E. coli.

Kasey Brown:

Tell me a little bit about how a cattleman should use it. Why should they this and what does it help with in the long run?

Paul Mitchell:

Well, Kasey, I'm here actually with a group of my colleagues, Paul Martin, my business partner, Joe Knopp, another business partner. And also we've got Dr. Predrag Simonović over from Europe. And I think on the technical questions like that, I'll have Dr. Predrag give his opinion in terms of the health benefits of it.

Kasey Brown:

Perfect.

Predrag Simonović:

Thanks Kasey. So the use of Farmatan is not so specific. So you would use it about two to three months before calving season and about two to three months after the calving season. So our idea is with our product, let's say to clean the intestine from any pathogen that the mother bears and to decrease and stop shedding the bacteria and microsporidia, coccidia in the environment. So by that we will protect the calf to prevent infection actually after calving.

Kasey Brown:

Right. Because scours and all of those affect that calf throughout its entire life. Right?

Predrag Simonović:

Yeah. And the first contact with the mother and with the ground is actually the time of infection.

Kasey Brown:

You were mentioning earlier about how it improves the colostrum. Can you talk to me a little bit about that again?

Paul Mitchell:

Sure, Kasey. Our byline is feed the cow and protect the calf. And as Dr. Predrag said, it's very good for the mother cow, it cleans her out of those infections. And then Dr. Predrag actually did an extensive dairy study, I'll let him comment on that as well, on the beneficial impact of reducing the amount of the negative energy balance in the cow at calving, reducing the duration and the severity of it, but also increasing colostrum quantity and quality. And I think Dr. Predrag, you saw about a 15% increase in antibodies. Do you want to just comment on that?

Predrag Simonović:

So our product is based on the sweet chestnut extract. So the hydrolysable tannins in sweet chestnut extract are strong antioxidants. So in the time around calving, a couple of weeks before and a couple of weeks after, this antioxidative effect is very important. So it prevents oxidative stress and decreases the oxidative stress in cows. So the function of the liver is better. The immune status of animals before calving is increased. That's why we can expect about 12% to 15% higher immunoglobulin G level in colostrum. That means that calves that are drinking that colostrum are protected from the intestinal and respiratory disease in the first weeks of life.

Kasey Brown:

So this has been used primarily in the dairy industry, correct? Can you tell me a little bit about some of the research that's been on the dairy cattle and how that can translate into the beef industry?

Paul Mitchell:

My partner, Paul Martin, he actually saw this in operation in European dairies. Paul, do you want to comment on when you brought this back to Delbert Fast and Dick Wright and how you got that into the beef herds with Delbert Fast?

Paul Martin:

Yeah. Thanks, Paul. Kasey, this actually goes back to a conference I went to in Slovenia five years ago, and Dr. Predrag was one of the main presenters there. And we were talking about the effect on dairy cows and how this was working in Eastern European dairies and helping to control clostridia. And when I came back from that conference, I realized dairy prices were in the tank and dairy producers probably weren't too interested in dealing with a new product at that time. So I got ahold of Dick Wright at yaggie's in Yankton, South Dakota, and told him, I said, "I think we could have effect on precalving cows." In other words, clean up the cow and prevent scours in the calves.

Paul Martin:

And we found our first producer to use it was Delbert Fast, up in Onida, South Dakota. He had an ongoing problem with crypto and would lose anywhere from 5% to 20% of his calves every year. And he said, this was an ongoing problem. It was something in the soil. So he was constantly fighting this. And he said, it wasn't so much the death, as it was just the sick calves that never performed. So we went in that first year and he was our first consumer. We had 225 cows that we treated, and he had two mild scours cases that next spring. And this is the fifth year that he's been on the program and he has not lost a calf to scours since then, had a few mild cases of scours. But when you take someone from 5% death loss to nothing in a spring, that's making a statement.

Paul Martin:

This last year, we are figuring we sold enough product to treat 60,000 cows in the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Idaho and Montana. We haven't begun to scratch surface of what is out there for our market. But if anyone's having a 2% death loss and we can prevent it, you've paid for this program very easily.

Paul Mitchell:

Kasey, one of the other things we've seen with it is, and Duane Seabris (?) is a nutritionist here today as well at the show, and Duane was able to tell us here just a couple of weeks back after doing preg checking that his non-Farmatan herds were running somewhere in the 14% to 15% open on preg checks. Now he's got close to 5,000 cows on Farmatan, and his Farmatan herds, he said are averaging between 3% and 4% open. There's good science in terms of ammonia and improvement in metabolism that we see with the Farmatan in their system, that supports why that would be. But it's great to see a practitioner in the field able to come back and tell us that because someone of his experience and reach, he has seen it firsthand now and so very positive. And he's been able to recruit more and more producers and ranchers because the neighbors are telling him that it's working. So far, so good.

Kasey Brown:

Right. And word of mouth is the best way to spread good news, right?

Paul Mitchell:

It is. Well, another word of mouth is we've got Joe Knopp here. Joe's over in Nebraska. Joe, you want to talk a little about some of the feedlot folks.

Joe Knopp:

Sure.

Paul Mitchell:

There's definitely a couple of folks that have seen good improvement with what they're doing with receiving diets.

Joe Knopp:

Absolutely. I'll tell you what. Thanks, Kasey. We've got into a couple feedyards, one in particular that starts a lot of high-stress cattle and starts 4, 5, 6 weight cattle. And they come in and they're already on a truck over three hours. They're rumen-undeveloped. We've seen where we can get in and we are cutting vet bills. We're getting into the bunk. We just finished a group. Was it three weeks ago? They were 52 pounds heavier than what they should have been. And we were 50 days late getting to them.

Kasey Brown:

Wow.

Joe Knopp:

So guys are seeing it and it's a fun product to sell because everybody's been told they're going to buy something that works. It's fun to have that product that does what you say. So on weaning, gee whiz, we're holding our own on weaning the calves. We don't have overconsumption with it, but they're responding. Again, it goes back to the appetite and the immune system. So whether it be weaning or in the feedlot, we're reducing vet bills. We're I guess, cutting overhead. And right now with the beef thing, that's fun to know, that we can come in and save the producer some money.

Kasey Brown:

You're also improving animal welfare.

Joe Knopp:

Oh, absolutely.

Kasey Brown:

They're still eating. They're comfortable.

Joe Knopp:

Yes, absolutely. Yeah. Just they're more comfortable. So yeah, it's a lot of fun to work with because the product, it does what we say it does, and it's a natural product.

Kasey Brown:

And that's great.

Paul Mitchell:

That's why we call it nature's answer to scours.

Kasey Brown:

Oh, perfect.

Paul Mitchell:

Correct. It's all natural.

Kasey Brown:

That's awesome. What else do cattleman need to know about this type of product?

Paul Mitchell:

If we could Kasey, make a plug for our website, would that be okay with you?

Kasey Brown:

Go for it.

Paul Mitchell:

If folks want to go to farmatanusa.com, that's F-A-R-M-A-T-A-N-U-S-A.com. They can contact us there, I'll be happy to visit with them. We also have an excellent calf paste available on that website as well that has the Farmatan tannin, as well as some dried egg antibodies and a four way bacillus that is excellent for a young calf. So I would just say to a cattleman, there are solutions out here, depending on what you're dealing with. We're not interested in a guy taking this if he doesn't need it. We're interested in the guy who's got a problem, and this absolutely works when it's needed. Something like a clotridia is something that, talking to veterinarians, have seen quite an increase in clostridia type scours, and this stuff is dynamite against that. And of course, cocci and crypto are ever present. So we appreciate the chance to visit on it. And guys can reach out to us again, farmatanusa.com and we'll visit with them.

Kasey Brown:

Perfect. I always like to end these on a good note. We all know that the cattle industry is really the people industry. So tell me guys, something good that has happened either professionally or personally for you recently.

Paul Mitchell:

I'm going to start, Beyond Meat went down 17% yesterday.

Kasey Brown:

All right.

Paul Mitchell:

So good luck to that. Paul, you got any comment on...

Paul Martin:

I can't top that one. That's good.

Paul Mitchell:

Joe, any...

Joe Knopp:

Oh, you know what? Yeah. I'm with you on the meat, but I guess good for me personally, we found out we're having another grandson.

Kasey Brown:

Oh, congratulations!

Joe Knopp:

That's good for us. So it's good.

Paul Mitchell:

Dr. Predrag?

Dr. Predrag Simonović:

Yeah. Good personally, for me it's I'm becoming... How do you say it?

Paul Mitchell:

Becoming a father.

Dr. Predrag Simonović:

I'm becoming a father. Yeah.

Paul Mitchell:

But luckily-

Dr. Predrag Simonović:

It's something to do with Farmatan also.

Paul Mitchell:

But it's not Joe Knopp's daughter.

Kasey Brown:

Well, congratulations. Well, that is some really great news.

Paul Mitchell:

Thanks Kasey.

Kasey Brown:

Thank you for joining me. Again, we're coming from Range Beef cow Symposium. Listeners, you'll find more coverage from the Range Beef Cow Symposium in both the Angus Beef Bulletin and the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, you can subscribe and access both of these publications at angusbeefbulletin.com/extra that's E-X-T-R-A. Stay tuned for our next episode. You'll get to hear from Miranda Reiman, not just me, and Ron Scott, about the relationship between nutrition and immunity. You may have noticed we've dedicated a couple of episodes already to the relationship between health and nutrition, but it's just such an important topic, especially as we head into spring. So be on the lookout April 13th for this next episode to drop. Thanks for joining us and for listening to Angus at Work.