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Milne Feeds sheep products now ionophore free!

 Walking through the supermarket, it is now evidently clear that consumers, together with health authorities, are increasingly concerned with the use chemical feed additives including antibiotics & ionophores in our fresh produce. Regularly household items including meat, milk & eggs now bare labels of “Antibiotic free” & “Organic”, attracting a premium price in today’s market. Fresh produce assured as antibiotic &/or antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) free, attracts greater consumer acceptance & demand, whilst also ensuring a significant reduction in the development of antibiotic resistance.


Currently, the ionophores monensin & lasalocid acid (commonly referred to as Rumensin & Bovatec, respectively) which are still permitted for use in livestock feeds within Australia, have been banned from use in livestock production across the majority of Europe, parts of Asia & most of North America. Beef, lamb & goat products labelled as “antibiotic free” in these markets, require animals to be raised on feed without any ionophores, antibiotics or AGPs. With the magnitude of evolution witnessed in food production over the past two decades in Australia, it is only a matter of time until Australia re-aligns its stance on ionophores to meet the standards already set in European, Asian and North American countries (Figure 1).


Figure 1: A global outlook of ionophore’s lifespan


Milne Feeds enriched essential oil sheep range


Ionophores favourably modify the ratio of volatile fatty acids (VFA) within the rumen. This is achieved through altering the rumen’s microflora bacteria, specifically through a mode of action whereby growth and proliferation of gram-positive bacteria is adversely impacted. This had led to ionophores improving animal feed efficiency and hence supporting their widely adopted inclusion across the livestock feed industry.


As a proactive, leading feed manufacturer and to meet likely future market requirements & expectations in livestock feeds, Milne Feeds is excited to announce that from September 2018 all their sheep feed product range will be produced without the inclusion of any ionophores (Bovatec or Rumensin). Our sheep range of feeds will instead be utilising the inclusion of natural plant essential oil compounds (Figure 2), which have been developed and used extensively in Europe over the last 10 years. These essential oils possess the same ability to beneficially adjust the rumen microflora bacteria just like ionophores do, whilst also assisting to improve animal feed efficiency, growth performance & enhancing the overall metabolic comfort of the animal.

Figure 2: Key essential oil compounds & modes of action


Widespread trial research work has been undertaken by Milne Feeds to ensure that these essential oils provide equal or better performance to that of ionophore use in sheep feeds. Milne Feeds will continue to extensively invest in the research & development of utilising naturally based feed compounds in their product range, to enhance the overall well-being, welfare & productivity of livestock production in Australian. From Septmeber 2018, our well-known sheep product range including EasyOne, LambGro, EasyLick & EasyEwe will contain natural essential oils and in doing so will be free of ionophores. They will continue to deliver ‘Maximum Performance, with Minimum Fuss’!





Dr Joshua Sweeny

R.Nutr, MSc (Nutrition), PhD (Veterinary Science), BSc (Hons)