- Ionophores are vital to the efficiency that we see in feedlots.
- Using these direct-fed antimicrobials can decrease the quantity of methane produced.
- Cattle producers outside the feedlot system may also derive value from ionophores.
What you need to know: Rumensin has many other "siblings" that are all part of the same group of ionophores. These direct-fed antimicrobials are vital to the efficiency that we see in feedlots today, with ionophores increasing dry matter intake by upwards of 3% and average daily gain by more than 2%.
Coinciding with the greenhouse gases discussed above, using these direct-fed antimicrobials decreases the quantity of methane produced by between 2 and 15%.
The adoption of ionophores by grazing systems is currently low due to concerns of toxicity, labor, efficacy, microbial adaptation, etc. However, data suggests that in the case of a grazing system, ionophores could be supplemented every other day and maintain nearly all the effects as feeding daily. Limiting the chance of toxicity of the animals and decreasing the labor required to supplement the product.
Animals supplemented for 240 days have shown consistent and lasting effects from supplementation of ionophores, suggesting long-term use does not limit effectiveness. Additionally, research has been published demonstrating that moderate-quality, forage-only diets are also positively impacted by ionophores.
Industry Application: Ionophores are useful in feedlot performance as well as reducing methane emissions. Cattle producers outside the feedlot system could also derive value from ionophores.
Read more about it: Effects of Ionophores on Ruminal Function of Beef Cattle