Research confirms FerAppease® improves carcass characteristics of finishing cattle

Research confirms FerAppease® improves carcass characteristics of finishing cattle

Article and photo courtesy of FERA Diagnostics and Biologicals

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (April 30, 2024) — In a two-part Texas A&M University research study by Cooke et al. (2024)*, researchers administered FerAppease to finishing cattle and evaluated its impact on carcass characteristics. Results showed that FerAppease, a unique analogue of the naturally occurring Maternal Bovine Appeasing Substance (MBAS), lowered plasma cortisol concentration upon slaughter and improved carcass dressing percentage. The study was recently published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) in the journal Translational Animal Science.

“Feedlot cattle are exposed to several stressors during processing for slaughter, such as handling, transport and exposure to new environments, and that stress can directly impact carcass and meat quality traits,” said FERA Diagnostics and Biologicals founder and CEO Rodrigo Bicalho, D.V.M, Ph.D. “That’s where the industry can benefit from research-proven strategies to mitigate stress in feedlot cattle prior to and during slaughter. FerAppease is a patent-pending mixture of fatty acids that replicate the composition of the original bovine appeasing pheromone. Research has shown that it alleviates the physiological consequences elicited by stressful management procedures.”

In the two-part study, researchers used self-treatment devices (oilers) to apply FerAppease, eliminating the need to handle cattle. “Administration of MBAS to cattle on feed should be passive and without physical handling or processing; otherwise, the stress elicited by these events could offset the benefits,” said Dr. Reinaldo Cooke, professor at Texas A&M Animal Sciences Department and lead investigator of the research. “Oilers are commonly added to feedlot pens as self-treatment devices for insecticides and can also be used to deliver MBAS to cattle prior to slaughter.”

In Experiment 1, researchers evaluated the use of oilers with FerAppease on carcass characteristics of finishing cattle in a large-pen commercial feedyard. The study included 954 Angus-influenced finishing steers housed in six original pens with each pen split into a pair of experimental groups so that the number of steers and average pen body weight were similar. The oiler was added to one of the experimental pens seven days prior to slaughter, while the control pen did not contain an oiler. The oiler delivered 120 mL of FerAppease per steer during the seven-day period. Results showed that carcass dressing percentage was greater (P = 0.02) in the FerAppease-treated steers compared to the control steers (65.9% vs. 64.2%). The proportion of carcasses classified as dark cutters was also decreased by 3-fold in the FerAppease-treated steers. There were no differences observed for carcasses that graded Choice or Prime, and researchers did not expect carcass marbling to differ because of the short length of FerAppease administration (final seven days on feed).

Experiment 2 investigated the use of oilers with or without FerAppease in a small-pen research feedyard, including the effects on post-slaughter plasma cortisol concentrations. In this study, 80 Angus-influenced finishing steers housed in 16 pens were used, with five steers with similar body weight per pen. The pens were arranged in four rows of four pens per row, and rows were alternately assigned to receive an oiler containing FerAppease or one with mineral oil for the control. Oilers were designed to deliver 120 mL per steer of FerAppease or mineral oil during the seven-day period. Researchers evaluated carcass characteristics and a blood sample was collected during exsanguination. No treatment differences were observed in carcass marbling score, backfat thickness, Longissimus muscle area, yield grade, and proportion of carcasses that graded Choice or Prime as seen in Experiment 1. Carcass dressing was greater (P = 0.02) in FerAppease-treated steers compared with the control steers (63.2 vs. 62.2%). The proportion of carcasses classified as dark cutters was also decreased by 2-fold in FerAppease-treated steers compared with the control steers. Plasma cortisol concentration was less (P < 0.01) in FerAppease-treated steers compared with the control steers (11.7 vs. 20.8 ng/mL). Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” is a key indicator of an animal’s well-being, with elevated levels associated with stress and discomfort. By effectively reducing cortisol levels in treated animals, FerAppease demonstrates its potential to enhance the welfare and comfort of cattle during the crucial period leading up to slaughter.

“MBAS increased carcass dressing by 1.7 and 1.0 percentage points in experiments 1 and 2, respectively,” said Dr. Cooke. “Steers that received MBAS in Experiment 2 also had less plasma cortisol concentrations upon slaughter compared with steers in the control group. The results show that MBAS administration to finishing cattle using oilers during the last seven days on feed alleviated the adrenocortical stress response elicited by the process of slaughter, which likely resulted in increased carcass dressing. Results from these studies also demonstrate the potential benefits of MBAS in mitigating the incidence of dark-cutting carcasses.”

FERA Diagnostics and Biologicals combines innovation and science to bring practical products, such as FerAppease, to the animal health field that will enhance the health, productivity and welfare of pets and production animals. A FerAppease treatment costs about $3 per head for adult cattle and $1.50 per head for calves. FerAppease use doesn’t require a veterinarian’s prescription or a Veterinary Feed Directive plan, and there are no meat withholding requirements. For more information and study data, and to order product, visit

*Administering the maternal appeasing substance before slaughter to improve carcass characteristics of finishing cattle

Reinaldo F. Cooke, DVM, PhD; Shea J. Mackey; Autumn T. Pickett

How Soon Will a Cow Breed Back After Calving

How Soon Will a Cow Breed Back After Calving

Article courtesy of BioZyme® Inc.

(SAINT JOSEPH, Mo., April 30, 2024) We expect a lot from a cow. She spends roughly 283 days in gestation, delivers a calf, and then we prepare her for breed back and expect her to conceive problem free during her first heat. That is a lot for the body to handle, and the cow does it, hopefully, year after year after year.

The time it takes for a cow to breed back after calving is often referred to as the postpartum interval. Its length of time varies based on several factors, including the cow’s health, body condition, age, breed, nutrition and management practices.

So, how soon will a cow breed back after calving?

The Timeframe

On average, most cows are expected to breed back within 45 to 90 days after calving. This period allows the cow’s reproductive system to recover and prepare for the next breeding cycle. A shorter postpartum interval contributes to a consistent calving interval, allowing the cow to calve at approximately the same time each year.

Keeping your herd on the same calving interval also keeps your calf crop consistent and uniform. This helps with weaning and marketing as buyers look for calves of consistent age, size and weight at weaning and sale time.

Factors That Influence Postpartum Interval

Body Condition

Cows with a good body condition score at calving tend to have a shorter postpartum interval. If a cow is underweight or in poor condition, it may take longer for her to regain reproductive function. Get your cows ready for breeding with a good plane of nutrition.

You don’t want to have them be too fat or too thin. Although they are calving during spring, when grasses are at their lushest, remember that grass is often watery and may not contain the DM needed for the cow. You might need to supplement with added grain or hay, especially since they are raising a calf and preparing for breed back simultaneously.


How soon will a cow breed back after calving? It’s often going to depend on their age. First-calf heifers may take longer to breed back compared to mature cows because they are still growing and recovering from their first calving experience.

Remember, as nutrients are partitioned out, growth is a priority. Reproduction is the lowest priority for younger females. So, you need to provide for your young females nutritionally to support long-term reproductive success.


Adequate nutrition plays a crucial role in reproductive recovery. Cows receiving proper nutrition and mineral supplementation are more likely to breed back sooner. This is where we can help your herd with a vitamin and mineral supplement like VitaFerm® Concept•Aid®. The Concept•Aid products promote effective, easy breeding when fed 60 days pre-calving through 60 days post-breeding. Concept•Aid products contain:

·      AO-Biotics® Amaferm®, a prebiotic research-proven to enhance digestibility.

·      Organic copper, iodine and zinc for maximum bioavailability, innate immunity and hoof health.

·      High levels of Vitamin E to support reproductive tract repair and milk quality.

Available in a variety of formulas, in both loose and tubs, VitaFerm makes a Concept•Aid formula for every management scenario. Find the Concept•Aid best for your operation with our Concept•Aid Product Navigator.


Some breeds or genetic lines may have a shorter or longer postpartum interval due to differences in reproductive efficiency. Record keeping is an important tool to track which genetic lines do indeed breed back faster. If you have continued challenges with the same cow each year, it might be time to consider culling her.

Management Practices

Proper management, including minimizing stress, providing adequate care and ensuring a suitable breeding environment, can influence the postpartum interval. This includes providing shelter and space as needed, fresh, plentiful water and ensuring that your herd remains healthy postpartum.

Estrus Cycle Resumption

After calving, cows undergo a period of reproductive recovery known as the “anestrus period.” This is the time between calving and the resumption of estrus (heat cycles). Factors such as nutritional status, stress and body condition can affect the duration of this period.

Estrus Synchronization

Some producers use estrus synchronization protocols to induce estrus and shorten the postpartum interval. This can help manage breeding more efficiently and achieve desired calving intervals. Using CIDRS or other hormone injection techniques are the most common synchronization methods. To discover the protocol right for you and your operation, work with your veterinarian or your beef genetic supplier or reproduction specialist.

BioZyme® Can Help

At BioZyme, believe in care that comes full circle for every animal. That is why we want to help you determine how soon will a cow breed back after calving. To ensure cows breed back in a timely manner, it’s essential to focus on the following:

  • Maintain cows in optimal body condition through proper nutrition.
  • Reduce stress and provide a clean and comfortable environment.
  • Monitor cows for signs of estrus (heat) and use appropriate breeding methods (natural service or artificial insemination).
  • Implement breeding protocols that align with herd management goals.
  • Ensure cows receive adequate mineral and vitamin supplementation – VitaFerm Concept•Aid.

If a cow doesn’t breed back within the expected timeframe, it may be necessary to evaluate her health, nutrition and management to determine any issues and implement corrective measures.

Get your VitaFerm Today

Not sure how soon will a cow breed back after calving? Well, with the help of VitaFerm, it will be a lot sooner than your neighbor’s cows who isn’t using VitaFerm!

Are you ready to add VitaFerm to your mineral program? We hope so! Not only will VitaFerm help with easy, effective breeding, it will also increase digestibility, helping keep your entire herd healthier. 

Not sure what product is right for your operation? Refer to the Concept•Aid Product Navigator to help you discover the product best for you.

Are you looking for a handy gestation calculator to help you determine the right time to breed back your cows based on when you want to calve? We’ve got you covered there too! Check out our automated Gestation Calculator.

Looking to buy the VitaFerm products locally? Find a local dealer here. 

If you’re not seeing a dealer in your area but still want to support local businesses, consider referring a dealer. 

About BioZyme® Inc.

BioZyme Inc., founded in 1951, develops and manufactures natural, proprietary products focused on animal nutrition, health and microbiology. With a continued commitment to research, BioZyme offers a complete line of feed additives and high density, highly available vitamin, mineral, trace mineral and protein supplements for a variety of animals including cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats, horses and dogs. BioZyme brands include AO-Biotics, VitaFerm®, Gain Smart®, Sure Champ®, Vitalize®, DuraFerm® and Backyard Boost®. With headquarters in St. Joseph, Missouri, the company reaches a global market of customers that stretches into countries across five continents. For more information about BioZyme, visit

More Than Just Fly Control

More Than Just Fly Control

Article and photos courtesy of Central Life Sciences

Managing nuisance insects can be challenging without the appropriate products and integrated pest management strategies. Over time, Central Life Sciences has expanded its product range to include additional solutions for combating flies, fire ants, cockroaches, and other pests labeled as threats to your operation. Offering diverse solutions, we provide the necessary products to combat harmful insects prevalent in your environment.


Flies are more than just a nuisance on operations; they can significantly impact productivity and profitability without effective control measures in place. Managing diseases transmitted by flies requires employing various methods such as fly traps, baits, and

on-animal treatments to curb fly populations. For instance, house flies, stable flies, face flies, and horn flies are significant concerns in dairy operations due to their ability to transmit over 65 disease-causing organisms, contributing to ailments like Salmonella, mastitis, and pinkeye among cattle.

Central Life Sciences’ ClariFly® Larvicide and Altosid® IGR offer producers protection against the damaging impact of flies. The products don’t directly affect production but provide control for the nuisance flies that do. Both product lines are mixed into cattle feed and passed through the cow’s digestive system and into manure, where they interrupt the life cycle of the fly, preventing development into the adult stage. The active ingredient in each provides target-specific modes of action that are not harmful to birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, or beneficial insects.

When proper fly control isn’t in place, your animals can become stressed and uncomfortable, ultimately lowering overall productivity and profitability. 

Numerous species of flies can be a nuisance to your operation. They can not only annoy animals and humans alike but also affect animal comfort, health, and profitability. By implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program with Starbar®, ClariFly® Larvicide, and Altosid® IGR products, you can protect your operation from costly fly infestations.


Cockroaches, often overlooked on agricultural operations, pose significant threats to cattle, employees, and the bottom line. Besides contaminating food and spreading diseases, they act as reservoirs and mechanical vectors for various illnesses. Transmission of these diseases includes inhalation, digestion, and cross-contamination. Not only does this affect humans, but it also affects cattle. Some of the diseases and bacteria cockroaches spread include Sarcocystosis, Salmonella, and Listeriosis.

Sarcocystosis is a disease often found in cattle, and they can contract it through ingestion after cockroaches contaminate their food. Signs of illness in cattle may include weakness, muscle spasms, weight loss, abortions, and possibly death.

When roaches crawl in filthy places, they compile Salmonella. After remaining in their digestive system for about a month, it can be transferred and released through their vomit and droppings. Salmonella can cause a wide range of clinical signs in cattle, such as joint infections, abortion, dysentery, chronic pneumonia, and sudden death. This disease is also commonly transmitted to animals by contamination of feed and water but can be found anywhere, such as in animal bedding gates and pens.

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection of the brain, and it can affect a wide variety of animals, including cattle, birds, pigs, and humans. While this disease affects the nervous system, it can lead to other problems such as stillbirths, abortion, and encephalitis. The ingestion of bacteria causes most infections. However, direct contact or inhalation with the bacteria can also cause infection.

Products such as Cyanarox® Insecticidal Bait and Exhalt™ WDG Insect Growth Regulator from Starbar® allow you to protect your operation from the dangerous and costly effects of cockroaches.

Fire Ants

Fire ant infestations can irritate your cattle, causing reduced weight gains and injuries. Even more concerning, stings from fire ants can harm or even kill livestock, especially the young. When fire ants settle into pastures, they often forage for food or moisture in the same areas where livestock graze, according to NC State Extension Publications. 

Extinguish® Plus is the best answer to any fire ant problems on your operation. Extinguish® Plus was designed to offer both short-term and long-term relief from fire ants endangering pastures and livestock. It combines the killing power of an adulticide, Hydramethylnon, and the long-lasting control of the insect growth regulator (IGR), (S)-methoprene.

The dual action of an adulticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR) in Extinguish® Plus kills worker ants and sterilizes the queen, resulting in a one-two punch for fire ants, a quick reduction of mounds, and the confidence that the ants will be completely extinguished through the IGR. Extinguish® Plus is approved for use where cattle graze with no worries about withdrawal periods.

With Extinguish® Plus by your side, you’ll start to see fire ant colonies dwindle in about one week. And the entire colony could be eliminated within as little as two weeks.


Because cattle often live and congregate closely together, ticks can multiply and spread rapidly, allowing some insects to turn into a tick infestation on cattle quickly. These blood-sucking insects spread diseases to both humans and cattle, hindering performance and bottom lines.

To effectively protect livestock from ticks, it’s essential to follow a checklist:

Regularly check livestock for ticks in key areas such as the head, ears, brisket, trailhead, udder, and between the legs. Report any findings to the local health department or state animal health official for further guidance and monitoring. Be vigilant for symptoms indicating tick-borne illnesses, such as high fever and weakness, and seek veterinary care promptly if observed. Additionally, maintain pasture hygiene by cutting down brush or weedy areas, reducing tick habitat, and minimizing exposure risk for livestock.

For effective tick control, use a product like Prolate/Lintox-HD™ Insecticide. Able to be used as a pour-on, mist spray, or in a backrubber, its synergized formulation provides effective treatment of ticks.


Lice can cause intense irritation and affect the appearance of livestock due to rubbing and scratching. Many lice species affect cattle, but the main ones are either biting or sucking lice. Biting lice feed on skin debris while sucking lice suck blood and can cause anemia if infestations are heavy enough. 

By killing listed parasitic flies and controlling lice, Inhibidor™ Insecticidal Pour-On can enable more efficient production by keeping your animals comfortable while protecting your bottom line. Other products for lice control include Cattle Armor™ 1% Synergized Pour On, Starbar® UL-100 EC Insecticidal Spray, Prolate/Lintox HD™ Insecticide, Starbar® E-Pro Adulticide Spray, and Pyronyl™ Crop Spray.

Central Life Sciences understands the detrimental losses that these insects pose to cattle, employees, and your bottom line. With products scientifically tailored to insect behavior at pinpoint locations, our Starbar®, ClariFly® Larvicide, and Altosid® IGR products can help you keep your cattle healthy and comfortable all season. To learn more, visit

Altosid, Cattle Armor, ClariFly, Cyanarox, Exhalt, Extinguish, Inhibidor, Prolate/Lintox HD, Pyronyl, and Starbar are trademarks of Wellmark International.

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