cjmc wrote:And now we have gone full circle! Again, I feed mineral because the research shows it helps (at least it has in my area). But the differences between some minerals are so marginal you would probably need 10,000 HD of cattle to tell the difference between them. So I think the only way to say this one is better than that one is just to form an educated opinion. I'll go through my thought process on VitaFerm vs. Purinia Avila 4 (same Phos levels).
VitaFerm- Roughly $35/bag. Organic trace minerals, high levels of vitamins and it has aspergillus oryzae in it (AO-to improve feed efficiency) 4oz intake/h/d. Cost /h/d $0.175.
Purina Avila 4- Roughly $32/bag. Organic trace minerals, less vitamins than VitaFerm but still more than requirement. No AO. 2oz intake/h/d. Cost/h/d $0.08.
Why I would choose Purina over VitaFerm-why in the heck would I pay almost $.10/h/d for a product that the only difference is it has an AO, which research shows doesn't always work. Even if it did work, Rumensin is way cheaper & it does the same thing. Heck corn is only $3/bu or $0.05/lb If i wanted to spend $.10/h more on my cows to get more energy I would just feed 2 more pounds of corn. It would do them a heck of a lot more than that AO. Yes, my cows won't get as much Phos in them because the Purina's intake is only 1/2 of VitaFerm but summer phos levels in the grass are high enough it would be fine. In the winter I would feed a 0% Phos because I feed WDG.
Now that example was easy for me because the differences were extreme. The more similar the products get the harder it is to make a decision & the smaller the difference in your bottom line would be.
Both minerals are excellent minerals and both made by reputable companies. Actually the recommended consumption rate on each is the same so there is no savings there. Amaferm (AO) is an excellent ingredient and one of the few additives that really give results “as advertised” whether it’s weight gain, milk production or butterfat increase and it is also less expensive than both Rumensin and/or Bovatec and has none of the warnings that accompany them nor does it deteriorate over long periods of time. Plus for the Purina mineral in question is that 100% of the zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt come from chelated mineral in the form of amino acid complex’s whereas only a portion of these same minerals in the ConceptAide are chelated and also in a different form. Plus for the Purina……Concept aid contains 35 lbs. of Amaferm per ton which is 2 grams per head per day per day at a cost of $.03 per head per day. A real bargain for what it does. Plus for ConceptAide. Phosphorus levels for each can vary depending on which “mix” you decide to purchase so that is a tradeoff. Vitamin levels in ConceptAide are considerably higher than in the Purina mineral but also at a totally unneeded level so a waste of good money. Plus for Purina. There are a number of other differences in the two but all so insignificant they affect very little. So which one should you use?? Depends on where you are and what your needs are but both are well worth the money and both will do you a good job as will many other minerals on the market. Didn’t quite understand the “corn” comment as we’re not feeding mineral for energy, however, Amaferm will help the any concentrate your feeding as well as all grazing and/or hay more fully digest and release more energy thus the improved feed utilization.
The recommend consumption rate of that specific Purina mineral is 2 oz, it may not be sold in your area. The 4 oz mineral (which is the same thing except 1/2 the level of all vitamins & minerals) is in the low 20’s/bag at my local feed store. So the savings is significant. My mineral supplier (not Purina) is charging 2 cents/h/d for the Rumensin at 200mg/h/d (level approved for mature cows). Which would be $0.01/h/d cheaper than the AO cost you stated. The special 2oz mineral Purina sells in this area is 100% organic. So you are right that would be an advantage, and depending on your area it would be a huge deal (or if you live in mine, it’s nice, but not a huge deal). The 4oz mineral they sell here is not 100% organic. I don’t know why that is, but the 2 oz mineral has no Cu, Zn, or Mn sulfates. The 4oz tag does have them listed as ingredients. Vit A & D are cheap Vit E is expensive, I totally agree with you that they are way too high in VitaFerm. However, the old ranchers around here think that while grazing corn stalks it helps. That thought has some basis in science. Lots of fertilizer has resulted in high nitrates in the water. High nitrates tie up Vit A & can cause some problems come calving time. My general philosophy is if old ranchers say something & it can be backed by science I probably should at least consider it. Outside of that one instance/time of year, I see no need for that level of Vitamins.
My corn logic goes like this. In my area calories are cheap (they aren’t everywhere). When I was a nutritionist for ranchers in the area during bad winters with lots of snow & really cold weather I would get asked what I thought about using Vitaferm. Most guys were using the 2oz Purina mineral. My response was always be along the lines of this. You are currently feeding: Corn silage, rolled corn, WDG, and prairie hay. Let’s say they are 2 months from calving Diet NEm is probably around 0.50 and costs roughly $1.25/h/d. If they switched to Vitaferm their cost/h/d would go to $1.35. Sure they would do better than without it. But I would always tell the producer, if you allow me to increase ration costs $0.10/h/d I’m going to include Ru for $.0.02 then I’m going to pull 4 lbs. of prairie hay out of your ration & add 4 lbs. of corn which will increase ration costs about another $0.08/h/d for a grand total of $0.10/h/d. Cows on my suggestion of extra corn and Ru would certainly do better than just adding AO to their diet.
The final point I always made when talking about AO’s if you go look at the research they did in 1991 (J Anim Sci 1991. 69:1733-1740) & reference in their advertisements it was at 3g of AO/h/d... So is it even effective at 2g/h/d? On top of that they did two digestion trails in that study & in one trial there was no difference between cows fed AO and the control cows! So when advising producers I always said go with what we know works to add energy when we need it, rumensin & corn.
Now if were talking about out on summer grass the topic changes some because we can’t supplement energy as easy. Still don’t know if I think it’s worth it. But hey that’s just my two cents, and at the end of the day it’s still only worth two cents. Phew, that was a lot of typing, Beer 30 now