XL Beef
Wisium hosted a successful launch in Pretoria. From left is Theodor Olivier, senior formulation specialist, Wisium, Marietjie du Toit, national technical manager, Wisium, and Lucas Booysen, managing director, Wisium.

Wisium recently introduced the beef industry to the XL Beef programme at Diep in die Berg Conference and Function Centre in Pretoria. The event was attended by feedlot farmers, veterinarians, members of the SA Feedlot Association and university role-players.

XL Beef is a new concept for ruminants which offers a complete solution for growing and fattening beef cattle and improving economic conditions for feedlots. Wisium based XL Beef on 60 years of experimental research in animal nutrition and management. Although the company is a multinational entity, this programme has been specifically adapted to the South African beef industry.

Challenges in the feedlot

Feedlot production has several challenges that include nutrition, health and management. The XL Beef programme addresses all facets of these challenges. One of the speakers, Dr Herman Mynhardt, ruminant specialist at Wisium, gave an overview of the multiple challenges that feedlot farmers face, as well as the solutions the programme offers.

XL Beef
The Wisium team at the launch. From left is Kelvin Pieterse, export sales representative, Marietjie du Toit, national technical manager, Gisela Bisschoff, sales and marketing co-ordinator, Demi de Beer, junior nutritionist, Lucas Booysen, managing director, Rickus Stone, key accounts manager, and Dr Herman Mynhardt, ruminant specialist.

He said the feedlot business is under severe pressure and producers need to keep optimising gains to remain profitable. In the feedlot you need to grow cattle as much as possible, with grain prices playing a very important role. Feed costs need to be as low as possible, while daily gains need to be as high as possible. Dr Mynhardt said the greatest challenge is a constant price structure change. He shared the following example. In July 2017 a ton of maize cost R2 000, while in July 2021 a ton of maize cost over R3 000. During this same period, the price of carcasses only increased by 13%. Subsequently, maize and feed are now 33% more expensive relative to carcass prices, compared to 2017.

For this reason, Dr Mynhardt asked producers to question whether the basics are enough. XL Beef can help producers think outside the box and improve feed conversion in a new way. Formulation management can be customised with XL Beef to suit the farm conditions as well as the raw material used to feed the animals. He emphasised that this product is only for serious feedlot producers who are dedicated to improving production, performance and profit.

Watch a Plaas TV episode on XL Beef here:

The XL Beef solution

The XL programme is multidimensional, said Dr Mynhardt. The first step in this new programme starts with the ‘In my farm’ audit, which measures success and identifies areas to improve animal health or feedlot management. This auditing platform is useful to collect production statistics which form the basis of a good management system in a feedlot.

The second phase focusses on nutrition, and specifically precision nutrition, which will become more and more important in the future to remain profitable. The nutritional programme caters to the specific stages of fattening in the feedlot. Here, the most important factors are cost per kilogram gain in addition to average daily gain and feed conversion.

XL Beef
Dr Linde du Toit from the animal science department of the University of Pretoria was one of the guests at the launch.

The third leg is the development of macro packs and premixes to complement the programme. These products have been developed by Wisium through their international and local trials. This programme is adaptable and specific macro packs will be necessary for highly stressed animals. Packs for stressed animals will also have additional agents and feed additives to combat stress and improve feed intake.

Dr Mynhardt said it is important to consider nutrition during all stages of production in the feedlot. The macro packs and premixes are designed for each phase of production. Wisium’s research and development department approved and adapted the products to the different production phases to be more cost-effective.

Continuous research and adaptation

In a Plaas TV episode, Dr Mynhardt said they are currently running two trials to continuously improve this new concept. One trial is taking place on a farm with good management and animals in good conditions, and the other on a farm with animals not as adapted to the feedlot challenges and where animal daily gains and profits are expected to be a challenge.

XL Beef
Dr Herman Mynhardt, Wisium, Dewald Olivier, executive officer, SA Feedlot Association, and Prof Leon Prozesky, University of Pretoria.

Dr Mynhardt highlighted that each feedlot is different, and this programme can be adapted to each farm. XL Beef can also be continuously adapted to future changes. To watch the Plaas TV episode on XL Beef, click here. For more information, contact Dr Mynhardt on 082 329 0400 or herman.mynhardt@wisium.com. – Ursula Human, AgriOrbit