Fresh options backed by new science are emerging to help animal agriculture industries protect livestock from the harmful effects of stress, while boosting profitability at the same time.
An example is the increasing adoption of "nutritional therapy" as a stress mitigation approach, using the pioneering Canadian-made product DeStress, developed by DeStress Nutritional Technology.
DeStress is a feed additive formulated with nutritional components that mitigate the damaging effects of stress that livestock typically experience during handling, transportation and regrouping. Studies show significant improvements in live weight retention, carcass weight retention, improved grade index and reduced animal aggression using DeStress.
"Stress-loss is a common and not often very well identified or addressed issue," says Dr. Al Schaefer, representing DeStress Nutritional Technology. "It is an issue becoming more important today from an animal welfare perspective. It is also very important to the profitability of livestock operations, as it represents an often hidden cost resulting in reduced meat yield and quality."
DeStress is a solution that helps address each of these concerns, says Schaefer. "It benefits the animals. It protects value for both the producer and the packer. It also results in a better product for the consumer."
It was launched in limited quantities in Canada last year. It now has expanded availability for 2015 in both Canada and the US, with DeStress-Swine and DeStress-Ruminants formulations. (A product version is also available for performance horses: DeStress-Equine.)
The product is drug-free and based solely on nutritional ingredients, says Krisjan Jones, marketing and sales Lead. DeStress contains energy sources, electrolytes and by-pass amino acids that address symptoms in times of stress.
"DeStress is designed to check off all the benefits and ease-of-use requirements that a producer or packer would want from this type of product," says Jones. "It ushers in nutritional therapy as a fresh approach for stress mitigation in livestock that helps customers lock-in the full value potential of the animal."
In swine, the latest studies with the product show market weight pigs treated with the product have a 1-3 kg increase in live weight retention, resulting in a corresponding 0.5-2 kg improved retention in hot and cold carcass weight. This translates to nearly 60 percent reduction in typical stress loss. Results also show a 45 percent reduction in aggressive acts among treated pigs.
In cattle, benefits include reduced shrink, increased carcass grade and yield, reduction in dark cutters and improved daily gain after weaning. The most recent packer trials evaluating post- transport treatment show 10 percent improvement in quality grade.
"It's a simple equation," says Schaefer. "Less stress equals happier, healthier and more productive animals, equals higher profitability."
Learn more about DeStress Nutritional Techology and its suite of stress management solutions here.
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