A study was performed at the Kansas State University Beef Cattle Research Center using 175 crossbred beef heifers averaging 683 pounds. Heifers were fed low quality prairie hay free-choice, or the same hay supplemented with 5 pounds daily of alfalfa hay. Heifers within each forage group had access to SmartLic NE-12, SmartLic NE-30, or no supplement. Heifers were fed the forage-based diets for 89 days, and had free access to white salt and water at all times.
Daily gains, feed intakes, and efficiencies of heifers are shown in Table 2. Heifers fed prairie hay with no alfalfa actually lost weight, indicating that the hay had limited energy content. Performance was improved substantially by feeding blocks. In particular, the higher protein content of Smartlic NE-30 improved forage intake and reduced weight loss compared to the unsupplemented controls.
Feeding five pounds of alfalfa daily effectively increased overall energy intake by heifers, allowing for a substantial improvement in gain compared to heifers fed only the prairie hay. Feeding Smartlic NE-12 and NE-30 resulted in additional boosts in gain and efficiency, illustrating that Smartlic Supplements are effective over a range of forage qualities.