Major study highlightsthe benefits of Optigen


A recent meta-analysis of the research and trial data accrued on the non-protein nitrogen (NPN) source Optigen over a decade and more has confirmed the product’s ability to improve animal performance and farm profitability.

“Optigen has a very direct and beneficial effect on overall feed efficiency,” explains Richard Dud-geon, Alltech regional manager for Northern Ireland.

“Optigen acts to provide a very stable NPN source in the rumen. It makes consistent levels of ammonia available over a sustained period of time, which is efficiently utilised by rumen bacteria.

“When included in finishing beef diets, Optigen can improve daily liveweight gains by 92g per head per day. The average improvement in feed efficiency worked out at +12g of liveweight gain per kg of dry matter intake per head.”

The meta-analysis involved the

extraction and comparison of the results obtained from 17 trials, which involved the feeding of Optigen to finishing beef cattle. The original studies were conducted in nine countries – six in the US, two each in Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico plus one each in Italy, Egypt, Ireland, Portugal and Argentina.

The research and trial work covered a 17-year period from 2002-2018.

“In addition to the specific liveweight gain and feed efficiency benefits,” continues Richard, “the meta-analysis also confirmed the improved profitability that Optigen can offer courtesy of the reduction in feed cost associated with beef production systems.”

Optigen is Alltech’s non-protein nitrogen (NPN) source for ruminants. It concentrates the nitrogen fraction of the diet, creating dry matter space for more fibre and energy.

Releasing ammonia to the rumen over time, it meets the needs of the microbial population more effectively than conventional pro-

tein sources.

This results in increased micro-bial protein, enhanced fibre dig-estion, increased energy available for milk and meat production plus more milk and/or meat production from the same amount of feed.

Unlike other wasteful and pot-entially risky nitrogen sources, Optigen increases efficiency of rumen nitrogen capture, resulting in less nitrogen excretion.

“The Carbon Trust has certified that the inclusion of Optigen in a ruminant animal’s diet can decrease the global warming potential of that diet and improve nitrogen utilisation,” Richard ex-

plains further.

“They also valid-ated that the replacement of high-carbon in-gredients, such as soya, with Optigen significantly reduces the risk of a high carbon footprint.

Optigen feeding rates range from

50-150g per head per day.

The product can be added directly to a TMR on-farm or included in the specification for a blend or pelleted feed supplied by a commercial feed compounder.


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