Kansas State University animal scientist Jim Drouillard, PhD, has developed and patented a new feed supplement that stimulates the growth, health and reproductive functions of cattle and other livestock, according to a K-State news release.
Drouillard discovered a specific combination of molasses, oilseeds and oilseed extracts that when heated and evaporated, formed a substance that improves absorption of specific omega-3 fatty acids.
"It's a free-choice type of supplement in a block form -- sort of like a big, 250-pound piece of candy for livestock," Drouillard said. "It's put in the pasture and the animals consume it whenever they want. The product's physical characteristics restrict the animals to consuming less than a pound each day, making it a convenient and cost effective way to deliver essential nutrients."
The substance contains desirable fats that elevate levels of specific omega-3 fatty acids in the bloodstream. The increases in omega-3 fatty acids can stimulate growth, improve immunity and enhance reproduction function and overall fertility in livestock that consume the supplement.
New Generation Feeds, a South Dakota-based company, has retained exclusive rights to the patented technology for use in its SmartLic brand of livestock supplements. The process is used in making the company's HorsLic supplement for equines and FlaxLic supplement for beef and dairy cattle.
The patent, "Product and process for elevating lipid blood levels in livestock," is issued to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, a nonprofit corporation responsible for managing technology transfer activities at the university.
Drouillard is continuing research on the combination by working to improve the fats' resistance to bacteria in the digestive system.