A nutritional feed product designed to reduce stress in livestock has been released in the Canadian market.
DeStress is a combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and electrolytes that has been shown to reduce shrink loss and improve meat quality when given to livestock before shipping.
It is also said to reduce aggression in livestock.
The product, which was developed by retired Agriculture Canada researcher Allan Schaefer, is distributed through Canadian Biosystems of Calgary and is also available at Wetaskiwin Co-op and Ag-Rem in Lethbridge.
“We’ve got a number of cattle producers in the province already on board with the product,” said Krisjan Jones, marketing and sales lead for DeStress Nutritional Technology.
He said the product has been available only since late last year and versions are available for cattle, hogs and horses. The horse product will be officially launched at Mane Event in Red Deer later this month.
The product comprises a crumble feed that can be added to normal livestock rations. Work is underway to develop a water-soluble version.
Animals would ideally be supplemented before long haul transport, after weaning and when otherwise being handled.
One kilogram of product per head fed 12 to 24 hours before transport is recommended for fat cattle and finished pigs.
The dosage for feeder cattle and weaners is 350 grams per head per day for three days after arrival. Dosage for horses was not available at press time.
Product information claims DeStress reduces shrink as well as the number of dark cutters in cattle and pale exudated soft pork in pigs. It is also supposed to improve meat tenderness.
It is said to improve average daily gain in feeder animals and contribute to better animal welfare by lowering stress levels.
“We know more than ever about the stress related to transport and handling and the impacts this can have on the well-being of the animals and on related economic factors,” Schaefer said in a news release.
He said in an interview that the product has been tested extensively in field trials.
Efficacy was gauged through carcass yield and the usual tests for meat colour and pH.
As well, live animals were tested for stress indicators such as cortisol levels.
Schaefer said producers of Heritage Angus cattle who export to Europe tested the product last fall and attained more than a five to one return on investment.
He said the product is effective in horses if given before transport, which allows rodeo stock and other performance horses to retain their condition after trailering.