A probiotic that could provide the feedlot industry with a $370 million boost took out the top award at Beef 2018’s ‘Pitch in the Paddock’. In this event, eight finalists pitched their start-up companies to a panel of judges and a packed audience. Feed additive company ProAgni won the top prize and received $5000 as well as a half-day mentoring session with KPMG partner Hamish Doley.
In the ProAgni pitch, co-founder and chief technical officer Robert Bell said that long-term exposure to low doses of antibiotics in the cattle industry could lead to resistant gut bacteria. “Part of the reason antibiotics are used is to manage transition time,” he said. “Animals are traditionally born and raised on a grass system then moved to a more intensive feeding system, like a feedlot… This transition time is a huge cost to industry and can cause death and morbidity rates to rise.”
Bell also mentioned that while liquid based oral drenches could reduce induction time, they are limiting in terms of refrigeration needs and shelf life. “We’ve taken Australian research and proven science and transformed the product into a dry-flowable powder that becomes an in-feed additive,” he said. “It has a shelf life of three to five years and requires no cold chain storage… This allows us to get the real practical application of these products into the feeding environment.”
According to Bell, the ProAgni drench can reduce induction times from about 15 to 17 days to just 3 or 4. “These probiotics have been proven in a commercial sense through feed trials,” Bell said. “This translates to about a 10% improvement in throughput for the feedlot industry… If you look at our current feedlot market we are looking at $370 million in value.”
ProAgni is currently in a growth stage as it heads towards commercial sale. Ultimately, the company aims to work with researchers, farmers and investors to bring products to market.
You can read more about the ‘Pitch in the Paddock’ runners-up at Beef Central.