TUSKEGEE, Ala. (April 8, 2015) – A new Tuskegee University patent aims to make the meat production industry more environmentally friendly and economical. Researchers Byeng Ryel Min and Sandra Solaiman with the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences invented a new livestock feed that keeps animals healthier and reduces the toxicity of their waste and emissions.
Using a mixture of tannin-containing wood products such as pine bark, the feed naturally and cheaply reduces parasites in ruminants like cattle, horses, goats and sheep.
According to the patent application, parasitic infections are the most prevalent and important health problems of grazing ruminant livestock in the South. These infections can lead to production losses and the use of expensive anti-parasite medications that could impact meat quality and even make parasitic worms resistant to the drugs.
“Gastrointestinal parasites (especially Haemonchus contortus) present the greatest danger to the goat and sheep industry in the Southeastern U.S.,” Min said. “Infected animals have lower growth rates, reduced reproductive performance, and have higher rates of illness and death.”
The application also states that livestock is the third largest source of methane gas production. Raising livestock can also lead to phosphorous run-off into the water table. Use of the patented feed reduces methane gas production and the amount of phosphorus released in livestock waste.
In addition to being better for the environment, the feed mix also improves meat yield, taste and its shelf life.
“Pine bark is one of the abundant forest by-products in the Southeastern U.S. and contains about 13 percent tannin,” Min said. “Feeding animals a pine bark diet improves feed efficiency and carcass weight, as well as enhances texture, flavor and overall acceptability of the meat.”
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