A PROBIOTIC that could bring $370 million in gains to the feedlot industry has taken out the top award at Beef 2018 Pitch in the Paddock.
In a style, similar to the television show Shark Tank, eight finalists pitched their start-up companies to a panel of judges and a packed Beef 2018 audience.
A cash prize of $5,000, as well as a half day mentoring session with KPMG partner Hamish Doley was awarded to feed additive company, ProAgni.
In his pitch, ProAgni, co-founder and chief technical officer, Robert Bell said long term exposure to low doses of antibiotics in the cattle industry could result in 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.”
Mr Bell said while liquid based oral drenches could reduce induction time, they had limitations in terms of requirements for refrigeration and a shelf life of three to five days.
“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.”
Mr Bell said the ProAgni drench can reduce induction times from about 15 to 17 days down to three or four.
“These pro-biotics have been proven in a commercial sense through feed trials,” he said.
“This translates to about a ten per cent improvement in through-put for the feedlot industry.
“If you look at our current feedlot market we are looking at $370 million in value.”
Mr Bell said, ProAgni was in a growth stage, scaling up the manufacture of the pro-biotic for commercial sale.
“We’ve developed a range of in-feed additives we can use today,” he said.
“Last month we had 900,000 doses go out through NSW in animals diets.
“That allows us to remove antibiotics from their daily intake.”
Mr Bell said ultimately his company wanted to work with researchers, farmers and investors to bring products to market.
“We want to make a conduit to provide really good science and technology to the market place,” he said.
“We are trying to positively impact the community through unique and novel animal nutrition.”
Second place was awarded to MEQ Probe, an objective carcass measurement tool.