- The addition of a live yeast supplement can improve the transition of a calf from ranch to a feedlot.
- Steers fed live yeast supplement had improved rumen fermentation, nutrient digestibility, and immune function.
What you need to know: Yeast is a fungus commonly used in baking and brewing due to the ability of yeast to ferment sugars, consume oxygen, and releasing carbon dioxide. Also, yeast is fed to cattle for various reasons. Today, however, we will focus on its ability to improve feedlot performance.
Simental steers were fed a ration with or without an active (live) yeast product for 60 days in dry-lot pens. The animals given the active yeast product had a higher average daily gain (2.68 vs. 2.52 lbs/day) and an improved gain to feed ratio (5.18:1 vs . 5.41:1), which is the pounds of feed required for 1 pound gain in bodyweight.
These improvements were likely due to improved fermentation, specifically the production of more propionate, used for animal energy and fat production, and an improved immune function. Yeast can help ward off minor bacterial infections in the digestive tract, decreasing the animal's energy spent on fighting infections.
Combined, these changes in the gut free up more energy for the animal to put towards the growth of muscle and fat, improving average daily gain and feed efficiency.
Industry Application: Yeast products can improve feedlot performance when supplemented for the receiving period of a feedlot. Depending on the price of an active yeast supplement, there could be cost benefits of using it as a supplement in receiving diets.