Cargill is the latest company to announce they will stop accepting cattle fed with the feed additive Zilmax.
Cargill did take a full year to study Zilmax before accepting it in June 2012. It’s estimated 70 to 80-percent of the U.S. fed cattle herd was finished on Zilmax or Optaflexx last year, and Cargill says its decision to accept cattle fed with the additive was partially based on the high percentage of cattle being fed beta agonists along with the drought’s effect on the U.S. cattle herd. The final cattle in Cargill’s supply chain being fed Zilmax will be harvested by the end of September. The company says this should give producers enough time to transition cattle currently being treated with Zilmax.
This decrease in Zilmax sales has dramatically increased demand for Elanco’s Optaflexx, and some new customers are unable to immediately receive supplies. Elanco representatives are calling customers to see how much everyone needs to try and keep up with this increased demand. Sterling Marketing President John Nalivka says tight Optaflexx supplies could temporarily pinch beef production at some feedlots, but there should be little impact on the nation’s overall beef supply. Nalivka says the U.S. won’t run out of beef, and feeders can adjust feed rations and take other measures to control production.