Agri-King Leading the Way in Enzyme Technology

Published on Fri, 01/17/2014 - 3:23pm

Enzyme technology is a hot topic in dairy nutrition these days, and Agri-King, Inc., based in Fulton, Ill., is leading the pack with their enzyme technology products.


“Agri-King uses enzyme technology to target the performance needs of multiple livestock species paired with the feedstuffs being fed to optimize feed efficiency and profitability for the global agriculture market being served,” says Dan Monson, Agri-King Director of Dairy Specialists.

There is more nutrition in the feedstuffs we feed than livestock can extract by themselves. Given the current cost of feedstuffs and the slim margins in the livestock industry right now, everyone needs to be as efficient as possible at extracting all the possible nutrients out of the feeds we use in our livestock operations. Enzymes are one of the tools that can be used to increase the efficiency of nutrient utilization.

“When Agri-King enzyme products are fed to ruminant animals they work specifically in the rumen. Enzymes assist the rumen microbial population by performing some of the digestion for the microbes. Overall, this means improved digestion in the rumen and less work for the rumen microbial population,” says Dr. Dave Jones, Agri-King Director of Nutrition. “This spares energy that would normally go to the microbes for work and now can go back to the cow for maintenance and production. The improved digestion provides the opportunity to maintain or improve ruminant performance on less dry matter intake — improved feed efficiency.”


What are Enzymes?

Enzymes are specialized proteins that perform specific functions and make life as we know it possible. Enzymes catalyze reactions that result in the breakdown of organic compounds into substances that animals, and microbes, can use as nutrient sources. Enzymes are very specific in the reactions that they catalyze, like a key is specific to the lock it will unlock. There are several types of enzymes needed to digest feeds.

            Amylases are a class of enzymes that are responsible for breaking down complex starches into simple sugars such as glucose and maltose that animals can use as an energy source.

            Cellulases break down cellulose into the simple sugar glucose by breaking the linkages between lignin and the digestible fibers.

            Hemicellulases break down the hemi-cellulose fraction of fiber into simpler sugars. Hemi-cellulose and Cellulose are found in plant cell walls and are more prevalent in grasses, including the fodder portion of corn plants, than in legumes. Hemi-cellulose is a polysaccharide consisting of a variety of sugars (e.g. xylose, arabinose, mannose, galactose and rhamnose).

            Xylanases are responsible for breaking down complex xylans (found in plant cell walls) into the simple sugar, xylose.

            Pectinases break down pectins (high in alfalfa, beet pulp and citrus pulp) into simple sugars. Pectins all contain galacturonic acid and a variety of other sugars including rhamnose, galactose and xylose depending on the pectin type.

            β-glucanases hydrolyze the complex poly-sugar bonds of beta-glucan (found in cellulose and the bran of cereal grains) into the simple sugar glucose.

            Proteases break down complex proteins into smaller peptides and/or individual amino acids.

Many of the enzymes needed to break down feedstuffs are produced naturally by livestock. Additionally, there are other enzymes that are produced by microbes in the digestive tract of livestock, such as fiber digesting enzymes produced by microbes in the rumen of cattle, sheep and goats and in the cecum and large intestines of horses. However, there are often limitations in the amount of enzymes that are produced naturally by the animal and to the amount of digestion that occurs in the digestive tract.

The rate at which digesta passes through the digestive tract may be too fast for the native enzymes to complete the task of breaking down all of the nutrients consumed by the animal. Additionally, there may be limitations on the amount of enzymes produced by the microbes in the digestive tract due to a digestive upset in the animal reducing the microbial population.

This is where Agri-King steps in — we want our livestock clients to get the most out of every bite of feed consumed by their livestock. Agri-King has developed a group of products that utilize enzyme technology to help our clients achieve the best nutrient efficiency while maintaining high levels of production. The enzyme technologies that we supplement into Agri-King products are extracted from complex microbial fermentations of fungi (mold: e.g. Aspergillus, Trichoderma) and bacteria (e.g. Bacillus). These enzymes are extracted from these natural, environmental micro-organisms and then the micro-organism itself is discarded since these typically are spoilage microorganisms.

Silo-King®-treated feedstuffs are the foundation for efficiency in ruminant animals. As a forage treatment program, Silo-King provides enzymes (cellulases, amylases, xylanases, pectinases) that start a “pre-digestion” of fibers and starches in forages, which makes them more digestible for the animals.

Ru-Mend™ is a feed additive, enzyme supplement (cellulases, hemicellulose, amylases) that also assists with fiber and starch digestion but in the ruminant’s digestive tract.

In situations where we are feeding higher levels of starch, such as in some high producing dairy rations, Zym-O-Factors® can help with starch (grain) utilization by supplementing amylases. This allows us to get every ounce of nutrition out of every pound of corn fed. This can be beneficial during times of high corn prices.

Zy-Mend™ is a combination product that merges the enzymes supplemented by Ru-Mend with Zym-O-Factors.

The strategic utilization of enzyme supplements, can greatly increase the efficient utilization of the feedstuffs consumed by livestock and the profit potential of the producers that use them.


Enzyme Technology at Work

A recent 53,000 cow, 228 farm study performed on clients’ farms demonstrated that the addition of the Agri-King enzyme technology helped to produce more milk (graph 1, see page 22) and increase components (graph 2). The study observed the effect of Ru-Mend, Zy-Mend, and Zym-O-Factors supplementation to the cows’ diets. “Agri-King’s enzyme technology allows our clients to get more milk out of the same amount of feed using our enzyme-based products (graph 3),” says Michael Goeldi, Agri-King’s Sales and Marketing Technical Specialist.


Additional On-Farm Results

Enzymes, little things that make big differences on the Scidmore Family Dairy Farm, in Chadwick, Ill. In the first 90 days on the Zy-Mend product, the measureable differences observed on this farm were:

Milk Increase            Up 8 lbs.       70 to 78 lbs.

Higher Milk Fat %         Up .2%            3.9 to 4.1

Higher Milk Protein %            Up .05%    3.1 to 3.15

Less Dry Matter Intake            Down 3 lbs.    56 to 53 lbs.

Lower SCC            Down 15,000            112,000 to 98,000


Also observed during the first 90 days on-farm were:

            Persistent lactation curves

            Consistent manure

            Increased Profit per Cow

            Increased feed efficiency

During the 90-day study, feed analyses showed that no measurable differences occurred in forage quality, the cows told the story.

To put it another way; happy, healthy cows lead to happy people in the Scidmore family.

“I first became involved in working with the Scidmore family dairy three years ago, in the capacity of a nutrition advisor. I wanted to know the goals of John and Angie, “Keep the cows healthy”, was their answer. I wanted to go further, and asked if we keep the cows healthy, what do you have as a personal goal to reach in the future when we accomplish the steps to optimum herd health and production?” says Don Sanders, Agri-King Regional Manager. “Their answer was a simple one, but not easy to accomplish: A New House!, without affecting the financial future of the family business. I am proud and excited to share the goal and dream of a new house for the Scidmore family is underway. They milk their herd of 170 Holsteins, two times a day, and choose not to use BST.”

Along the way the Scidmore’s have set and reached some lofty goals to accomplish with the cows:

            Increase digestibility of all forages fed, all treated with Silo-King, Agri-King’s premier forage treatment program, at a high rate.

            Increase energy in the forages we feed, by proper fertilization, using forage analysis or plant results

as our guide.

            Take maximum advantage of various grazing situations.

            Heat abatement issues addressed.

            Fly control practices upgraded.

            Cow comfort an utmost priority.

            90-lbs. of energy-corrected milk in the tank.

            Optimum immunity in cows, calves, and heifers.

            Minimize any health events at calving.

            Lowering SCC to achieve maximum bonus status.

The addition of the enzyme technology in Zy-Mend is part of the goals reached, and the dream come true. “We had digestible feeds before the addition of Zy-Mend, now we observed what the results were when we increase absorption of the nutrients in the diet of the cows,” says Sanders. “Another observation from the cows — no more heavy cows — they just look athletic!”

Of course being able to realize their dream of keeping the cows healthy — building a new home — was not done alone. It’s a team effort. “John mentions many times, he is blessed to work with people with passion, about achieving success on his dairy,” says Sanders. His family members, wife Angie and children, Rachael, Regan, Sydney and Jackson, along with Herdsman Chris Neis, Junior Herdsman Alan Osterhaus, the veterinarian, and the Agri-King team are all an integral part of making the Scidmore family dairy run smoothly.


Who is Agri-King?

Agri-King was founded 1968, by Del Curley, who was employed as a feed salesman, but had the idea that forages and grains that were fed to livestock could be tested for nutrients, just as soil was being tested and then treated with only the necessary fertilizers. Almost 50 years later, Agri-King is still using this idea as the basis for its enzyme technology. As stated in the company’s mission statement, “[Agri-King is] dedicated to selling and serving the farming community by providing the most advanced nutritional concepts and products through the utilization of the latest technology.”

Agri-King, Inc. is headquartered in Fulton, IL, USA, and internationally known for precise feed analysis, ration formulation, and innovative nutritional products. Agri-King is a highly respected leader in working with livestock producers to optimize production, enhance feed efficiency, and maximize producer profits. For further information, contact Agri-King, Inc. at 800-435-9560 or