Alltech will produce its feed additive Optigen II in Australia for the first time with an expanded production facility in Forbes, New South Wales.

Optigen II is a safe and traceable non-protein nitrogen source that can help dairy and beef farmers increase yield. Optigen II is a controlled-release technology designed to provide a safe, concentrated source of ruminally degradable protein. Due to the concentrated nature of Optigen II, more cost-effective diets can be achieved by balancing the ration with less expensive feed ingredients.

“This technology helps to provide sustained availability of ammonia to the rumen environment, ensuring that rumen bacteria have continued access to this essential food source,” according to Dr. Susanne Roth, ruminant sales and marketing manager, Alltech Oceania.

Optigen II originally was developed by Cornell University, and is supported by in vitro, in situ and in vivo research.

Many countries have been using Optigen II for many years: the U.S. started in 2004, Europe in 2006, followed by South America and Asia. In Australia, the product has been used for almost seven years.

“Demand has been rapidly increasing over the last couple of years due to volatile protein markets and drought conditions, hence Alltech’s commitment to manufacture locally,” Roth told WATTAgNet. “New Zealand are also big users of Optigen II, where it is fed during the dry summer months and to winter milking herds.”

Roth said Alltech operates 14 Optigen II production plants worldwide, three of which are in the Asia Pacific region: Tianjin, China; Bangalore, India; and Forbes, Australia. Australia is the only planned expansion in production.

“Optigen II can be used on top of an existing diet or as a reformulation tool to replace vegetable protein and gain space for fiber or energy,” Roth said. However, she stressed that “the results in dairy and beef are always very much related to the feeding system and overall management system.”

“What you usually see is a better feed efficiency, but the amount ultimately depends on what the ration looks like,” she said.

Feedback from farmers

Farmers in New South Wales that have used Optigen II cite improvements after adding the product.

“We reformulated the young bull diet to include 80g Optigen II in a silage, barley, canola meal ration,” said a representative from Irelands Angus Stud in southern New South Wales. “We were very happy with the results: an increase in weight gain on the young bulls, and therefore finished off heavier at the time of the bull sale. We also noticed that our cattle look healthier and have a better coat condition.”

A representative from George Pitkin and Sons said: “With the inclusion rate of Optigen II and yeast culture, I was able to remove the starter diet in the feedlot. My goal was to improve pasture intake and increase feed conversion rate to improve weight gain and, since I incorporated the products, I am happy that I have achieved these results.”