THE Rigney family is using high tech feeding technology to maximise returns from its 1000 head feedlot Dunbarr Feedlot at Weengallon.
In an industry squeezed by extremely tight margins, the Rigneys have added a rumen specific live yeast and a pathogen binder to feed rations to decrease the cost of weight gain.
The Rigneys are working closely with nutrition advisor Toby Doak from Alltech Lienert Australia to fine-tune their feeding operation and assist with animal health.
The powder-form Alltech products, Yea-sacc and Actigen, are added over the top to the feedlot ration in the feed mixer.
The live yeast, Yea-sacc, is added at a rate of 10g/head/day at a cost of 12c/head/day. The pathogen binder Actigen is only used in the starter ration, costing 15c/head/day.
Dunbarr feeds a barley-based ration including of 82 per cent grain, 10pc cotton hull pellets and 4pc oat hull pellets. The 4pc of vitamin/mineral concentrate pellets are supplied by Riverina Stock Feeds, Oakey.
The steers and heifers are calculated to eat about 3pc of their body weight for a 1.95kg weight gain.
Yea-sacc targets rumen function and feed efficiency. Actigen protects the animal from pathogens such as e-coli and salmonella impacting on the hind gut. Actigen works by enhancing nutrient uptake and improving the natural immunity of the animal.
Ken Rigney said the adoption of the additives has resulted in cattle moving from the starter ration to the finisher ration at eight to nine days, compared to the previous 14-18 days.
Mr Rigney said bovine respiratory disease remained a challenge.
“There just isn’t a problem with our own bred cattle,” Mr Rigney said.
“And bought in cattle are right if they can spend two or three weeks in the paddock before they go onto feed.
“But if they come straight out the saleyards and into the feedlot, it can be an issue.
“What we have noticed is the use of Actigen also decreases BRD in bought in cattle.”
Grain for the feedlot is supplied almost entirely by the 4000 hectare cropping operation on Myall Plains at nearby Nindigully.
Dunbarr produces a B-double of finished cattle for the domestic market each fortnight, supplying about 2500 cattle to Woolworths each year.
Attention to detail has seen Dunbarr averaging 265-275kg carcases.
Dunbarr Feedlot is situated of top of an ironstone ridge, giving the site excellent drainage and air circulation.
The Rigneys use self-feeders rather than bunks allowing for greater flexibility in management of their integrated cattle, grain and feedlot business.