A unique DNA testing service and a new fly and lice control mechanism are among the top six products selected by a BEEF magazine shopper panel touring the recent Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in San Antonio, TX. Termed the Most Promising New Product program, the four-member panel's appraisal was designed to help introduce producers to new products aimed at boosting profit potential.

Fourteen products were nominated by manufacturers. The panel, representing a cross section of the industry, included Chris Hitch, member of a Guymon, OK, family cattle feeding/ranching program; Rick Machen, Texas Cooperative Extension beef cattle specialist in Uvalde; Sharon Livingston, Long Creek, OR, cow-calf operator; and Dee Griffin, DVM, University of Nebraska Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center animal health researcher in Clay Center.

In the weeks leading up to the convention, panelists reviewed literature for each nominated product. Once on the trade show floor, they visited each manufacturer's exhibit to learn more about the products.

Panelists could designate as many “winning” products as they wished. From a field of 14 entries, panelists picked six as showing the most promise to the industry.

Listed alphabetically, the six products include: Component TE-IS and TE-IH, a VetLife growth promotant implant; Elector, a fly control insecticide from Elanco Animal Health; Excede, a broad-spectrum BRD treatment from Pfizer Animal Health; Igenity L, Merial's DNA testing service; Iono-Lyx, a low-moisture block supplement with Bovatec from Ridley Block Operations; and Optaflexx, a feed additive from Elanco Animal Health.

Here are the panelists' thoughts:

  • Component TE-IS and TE-IH — This growth promoting implant's ability to reduce bullers by 50% opened judges' eyes, as did its strengths in reducing abscesses and promoting weight gain.

    Clay Keller, a VetLife sales manager, told panelists Component with Tylan lowers implant-site scar tissue within the ear.

    “We're seeing half the scar tissue of other implants,” he says, “and half the infections.” Component with Tylan reduces inflammatory response to the implant and any bacteria or debris, he adds.

    “There's more consistency among implant sites for each individual animal,” Keller says. “The reduced scar tissue helps explain the better performance we've seen (a 6-lb. higher average carcass weight).”

    Panelist Hitch, whose family operates Hitch Enterprises, says tests on Component with Tylan at the company's feedyards showed a dramatic 48% reduction in bullers. Keller adds that a similar 50% reduction in bullers was seen among 1,500 cattle in a university-run feeding trial.

    For more, visit www.vetlife.com or www.ivyanimal health.com.

  • Excede — This Pfizer injectible antibiotic gained FDA approval in mid-2004 for control and treatment of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in high-risk cattle. With its ability to provide early protection for newly arrived feedyard cattle, it received high marks from panelists, as well.

    “This might be the best drug we have ever had for cattle coming right off the truck,” says Griffin, whose veterinary research includes cattle on feed across much of Nebraska.

    Excede delivers therapeutic blood levels for seven days, says Doug Ricke, Pfizer's U.S. director of anti-infectives. The antibiotic is effective against three major bacterial pathogens that cause BRD, — Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida and Haemophilus somnus. Because it's injected in the ear, it eliminates lesions in edible tissues.

    “It's really contributing to the quality beef safety image the cattle industry is striving for,” Ricke says.

    Hitch says Excede is “not a saddle-bag drug,” but one that should be administered as cattle come off the truck at the feedyard.

    Griffin says, “One of the biggest faults in doctoring cattle is we do too much. We get in God's way. Too many injections hurt an animal.” Excede helps reduce the need for excessive injections.

    For more, go to www.excede.com.

  • Elector — Oregon rancher Livingston says she likes the idea of a product that improves fly and lice control. That's what Elector provides producers and feeders of lactating and non-lactating beef and dairy cattle, says Daniel Faidley, Elanco marketing manager for U.S. cattle veterinary products. He says Elector is the first new insecticide class for use in cattle in more than 20 years.

    “It controls flies and lice on cattle. One key point is that Elector controls flies that have developed a resistance to pyrethroids (insecticides). It's an ideal rotational alternative to older insecticides,” he says.

    Panelist Machen, says Elector, “is good for controlling horn flies.” He works with stocker operators and other cattlemen in South Texas.

    The safety aspects of Elector also impressed the panelists. Part of the new “spinosyn” insecticide class, Elector can be applied as a pour-on, animal spray or premise spray. Protective equipment isn't required for its application.

    For more, go to www.elanco.com.

  • Igenity L — This unique DNA testing service really impressed panelists. “I like this DNA testing product,” Livingston says. “Even a small operator like me (200-cow herd) needs good quality cattle. I can't put aside looking ahead.”

    Merial introduced Igenity in early 2004. Its portfolio of products and services includes: Igenity L, which identifies an animal's specific genetic potential for energy utilization and marbling; Igenity TenderGENE identifies calpain genotype to predict tenderness; Igenity DoubleBLACK identifies and verifies homozygous black cattle; Igenity ParentMATCH offers parentage validation and verification; Igenity DNATRACE provides birth to consumption traceability; and Igenity Sample Archive is a DNA storage system.

    “It provides a tool for use in identifying sires of desirable and undesirable calves for economically important traits,” says Jim Gibb, Merial senior manager for beef segment development. “It gives producers the information needed to wield more power in making decisions that reduce costs and add value.”

    For more information, visit www.igenity.com.

  • Iono-Lyx B300 — A ½-lb./day of extra gain is what the Iono-Lyx low-moisture block (LMB) with Bovatec is giving stocker operators, says Dan Dhuyvetter, southern operations manager for Ridley Block Operations, which manufacturers a wide line of Crystalyx® brand LMBs. Iono-Lyx is the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved LMB with the ionophore Bovatec and is the only medicated LMB available for grazing stocker cattle, he says.

    LMBs have enabled producers to make sure more cattle have access to, and consume uniform intakes of nutrients. In Ridley and university studies, special GPS-monitored collars were used.

    “We found 90-95% of animals get the block,” says Dhuyvetterr, which is a much higher rate than seen with a typical mineral block program. Trials on a Mississippi ranch found stockers exposed to Iono-Lyx had an average daily gain of 1.06 lbs., compared to 0.55 lbs. and 0.66 lbs. for two other groups of cattle exposed to a typical mineral.

    Panelists agreed producers should benefit from the new block that includes a proven ionophore. Griffin says the Iono-Lyx block could help alleviate the problem of not being able to deliver an ionophore evenly to stockers.

    For more, go to www.ionolyx.com.

  • Optaflexx — This Elanco product has been used extensively in recent months across the cattle-feeding industry. Designed to increase live weight, feed efficiency and red-meat yield by improving nutrient utilization, Elanco's Grady Bishop says one unique trait is it can be reintroduced in the final 30 days of a feeding program.

    “It's also the only product evaluated by the FDA for its impact on carcass merit as it pertains to consumer acceptance and palatability,” he says. “When Optaflexx is fed, the consumer cannot detect any difference in the tenderness of beef.”

    Tests show the product provides an extra 17 lbs. live weight gain and a 14-lb. carcass weight gain. Hitch pointed out Optaflexx has helped increase ribeye area in Holsteins and other cattle in his family's three feedyards.

    “We've seen it add $2 over the cash market,” he says.

    For more go to www.optaflexx.com.

Other entries

Along with these six products, other entries in BEEF's Most Promising New Product program included the following:

Steve May, BEEF publisher, says the selection process in the Most Promising New Product program was difficult for the panelists.

“We saw very good products from just about every segment of the beef industry entered in the first year of this program,” he says. “These product entries illustrate the good job companies serving the cattle industry are doing in meeting the needs of producers, stocker operators, feeders, and ultimately, consumers.”

Larry Stalcup is a freelance beef industry writer in Amarillo, TX.