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Stackyard News Mar 07

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Yeast Cell Wall Supplement Boosts Lamb Growth Rates and Increases Profitability in UK Trials

Improved growth rates in lambs fed concentrates containing a commercial yeast cell wall supplement contributed to increased net profits of over £1.30/head in farm trials conducted in 2006 by Countrywide Farmers.

Cannon Heath lambs

Cannon Heath lambs

The policy of Cannon Heath Farm, a Hampshire downland farm where the 2006 study was conducted, is based on the view that on their land, well managed grazing supplemented with lamb creep feed is the most cost effective way of finishing lambs. Any additional ways of improving the efficiency of lamb output from grass and obtaining a positive financial response is considered.

An increase in profitability of £1.30 per head is certainly worthwhile under any circumstances and this return could well be higher in situations where there is a greater disease challenge.

In the study involving 400 lambs all bred from mule ewes by either Texel or Dorset rams and born between 15 and 31 March, the treatment group receiving Alltech’s Bio-Mos mannan oligosaccharide yeast cell wall extract in a standard creep ration fed ad libitum from 14 days to slaughter at 14 weeks of age, recorded higher daily liveweight gains than the control group.

The biggest impact was seen in the period up to 10 weeks of age, when daily liveweight gain was 4-5% higher in lambs receiving Bio-Mos. The shepherd, Andrew Stephens was impressed that the Bio-Mos fed lambs took to the creep earlier and also showed a reduced incidence of scours. There was no mortality in lambs receiving Bio-Mos compared with two cases in the control group.

In earlier trials carcase quality of slaughtered lambs was also assessed and a significant improvement in killing out percentage was seen in lambs that received Bio-Mos.

“Bio-Mos is widely used in other livestock species for its ability to improve gut health and growth rates but up until now there has been little evidence of its efficacy in relation to lambs,” explains Countrywide Farmers feed technical manager Jim Fordyce.

“Further trials are in progress but the results over two years to date have been very positive, with improvements in the health of the animals leading to significantly better growth rates.”





DLWG to 10 weeks (kg)




DLWG to slaughter (kg)




Mortality (lambs lost)




Disease incidence




Source: Countrywide Farmers, 2006

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