Virbac

Don gets the lift in production he was looking for.

 

Don McConnel, Droughtmaster Producer, QLD

In Don’s words:

Following the implementation of improved herd and pasture management, our property has already noticed improvements in pregnancy testing rates. Yet, with the guidance of Multimin mentor Dr Matthew Ball, we ran a trial on our heifers and steers to see what effect Multimin may have on providing additional productivity improvements.

It is great to see how Multimin has helped our heifers grow and mature through what is a very hard stage of their lives. With the results that we have seen in our heifers, Multimin has given us the lift in production that we were looking for.

Throughout this challenge we have learnt more about our herds health and the benefits of Multimin been given at critical moments pre-joining and in conjunction with other vaccines to help boost the animals immune system.

We are still really confident in our choice of products and welcome the chance to talk to other producers who are also finding the right combinations, of drenches and supplements for their different mobs and pasture types. Drop us a line at mtbrisbane@westnet.com if you’d like discuss our findings, what you’ve noticed in your herds and to see our kill sheet statistics…..late night analysing MSA stats is becoming quite the hobby around these hills.

 

In Matt’s words:

It’s been great working with Don throughout the Multimin Challenge. We studied conception rates, immunity, and growth and development responses to trace minerals, and we’ve seen very positive results suggesting that animals treated with Multimin and 7 in 1 had higher levels of protection, with on average higher antibodies to leptospirosis. Heifers also seem to be growing better, with a healthier appearance in the treatment group.

We saw rapid improvements in the treated animal coats within 4 weeks. The skin is the largest organ of the body and what we can see on the outside reflects improvements occurring on the inside. Multimin is formulated to rapidly top up liver stores of trace minerals which are then used to optimise essential enzyme systems throughout the body. We end up with a healthier, more fertile animal – ready to perform.

It’s really worth implementing a Multimin program to help influence the fertility and immunity of younger animals. Heifers that calve early their first time, will always calve early and will always be more fertile. One of the first things farmers notice when they implement a Multimin fertility program is that their calves are born closer together. This observational evidence is backed up by both Australian and international studies which have demonstrated a 10-13% improvement in calving patterns. Multimin’s benefits to immunity keep young cattle healthier, reduce disease, lower number of treatments and improve response to vaccines.

The sort of program being implemented at by Don and by other Multimin Challengers is about investing for the future. Optimal levels of trace minerals in young cattle and breeding animals protects their performance over time. If farmers can recognise a period when their stock’s nutritional demand is high, and target those times, Multimin will help alleviate those pressures and boost long-term productivity. Multimin has proven benefits when used around weaning, pre-joining and pre-calving.

Don’s animal health program

Replacement Heifers

As part of the Multimin Challenge our weaner heifers were brought in March 2019 to be drafted into groups of replacement, sell or culls. Even though we didn’t know which animals were treated, when we tallied up the results, it was very pleasing to see that 84% of the treated group made it through the selection process while 74% of the control mob were selected. While drafting these heifers we are looking for soft easy doing females that are well grown and structurally correct, showing good muscling while maintaining their femininity.

41 heifers out of our treated mob of 49 were put into the keep mob, 4 went into the maybes and 4 into the culls. In the control group we had 37 in the keep group, 8 in the maybes and 5 in the culls.

Maiden Heifers

After a nine week joining we are very pleased with a great preg test result in our maiden heifers. We had 55 heifers from both the control group and treated group get in calf. Dr Bill Roughan from South East Queensland vets ultrasound age preg tested the heifers. There was a noticeable difference between the two groups with 26 treated animals and 14 control group heifers getting in calf in the first three weeks of joining. This is a 22% higher conception rate in the treated group, while the control group had the majority of heifers get in calf on the 2nd cycle. We like to see heifers get in calf as early as possible, this gives them more time to recover and get the balance right of feeding a calf and picking up their condition, as producers we all want our heifers back in calf quicker. We prefer earlier calves as they have more time to grow and mature before going to market or joining.

We also tested these heifers for immune response to the 7 in 1 vaccine given in June and July and were pleased to see that the Multimin treated group had a much higher immune response to leptospirosis – and results also showed that animals treated with Multimin and 7 in 1 had higher levels of protection.

Steers

Recently our 2 year old steers went to JBS Dinmore. In such trying conditions it was great to see that 96 of the 100 trial steers were deemed ready to go by visual and temperament assessment.

There were 48 in each group processed and graded for MSA, one group treated with Multimin, one group our control mob. There was no significant difference in carcass grading between the two groups. There were some overall lessons learnt though from this year’s kill sheets. Overall, we had 80% from each group grade into the MSA market, 70% from the two groups graded MYO which was the top money of $5.10 per kilogram. 82 of the steers were 2 tooth with 10 still being milk tooth. It’s worth noting that none of these animals received any other supplements in the drought conditions (aside from Multimin and Cydectin long acting which we have always used).

In what has been one of our driest summer months it was pleasing to see how well this mob of steers fattened, it showed us that the selection pressure we are putting on our heifers in the early years is producing steers that are still able to fatten in challenging times. On average, they are 10kg lighter on the HSCW than the steers we have sold in previous years but only 1mm leaner on rib fat, a result any producer would be happy with. One lesson that we can take out of these animals is that our Spring Flat paddock may not be as deficient in minerals as we had first assumed, this is something that we will do some more testing on next year. Speaking to Multimin Challenge mentor Dr Matt Ball, if there was a deficiency in trace minerals in this paddock he would have expected a greater difference.

This has demonstrated to us the importance of better treatment of our younger stock to improve growth and weight gain on them before they come into our better steer paddocks. Of the 18 steers that got D money, 4 were for not having the required fat cover, the other 14 had ph levels that were too high. Temperament, how the animals are mustered and handled have the biggest impact on ph levels, so investing more time in the management and health of our younger cattle will benefit this result.

In 2009 we made the change from selling 6 tooth bullocks to 2 tooth steers, while in the early years we would have any where from 20 to 30% percent of steers not ready to go and sold to feedlots, to now only having a few not ready each year we are really pleased with. Genetics has played a part, but better drenches and pasture management have played their roles as well. We will continue to use Multimin as part of our management for the younger steers to improve the weight and health of them, and while a cost benefit ratio was not seen in carcass grading in our steers, we did see evidence for immunity and fertility improvements. $3 per head each treatment time. We can confidently say as producers that we are not yet done with using Multimin on our property.

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