Natural mineral proves beneficial to livestock

A natural mineral, which has been shown to lead to improved conditions in cattle, ewes and lambs, is being incorporated into a new feed product being launched next week by Rumenco, the livestock feed block manufacturers.

Diature has been the subject of feed and crop trials over the past two years by Natural Feeds and Fertilisers (NFF) in collaboration with agricultural consultancy ADAS and Aberystwyth University. Wide-ranging benefits of the mineral have been found, including improved lamb weight gain, foot health, and maintenance of lower worm counts within a managed programme.

According to Dr Helen Edwards, director of NFF: There are potentially broader applications than just the sheep sector. A previous trial to investigate Diatures potential to reduce campylobacter in broiler chickens did not produce significant enough results to economically warrant its recommended use in chicken feed, although it did reduce campylobacter in laboratory in vitro studies.

However, coccidia were reduced in broiler litter, and current trials in laying birds are therefore monitoring coccidia and other poultry gut parasites, while also measuring egg production, egg quality and shell thickness. Results to date indicate improved egg production. It is also an efficient red mite external treatment, she said.

There are also studies investigating potential of Diature to absorb damaging mycotoxins, which can develop in animal feed production.

Overall, Edwards described Diature as having great health, economic and ecological potential for agriculture and said: Other countries are finding its use beneficial for improved fertiliser efficiency for crops and animal feed applications.

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