Agri-Best Feeds works to provide cattle supplement programs
“We look to maximize the genetic potential of animals in their environments,” says Scott Anderson of Agri-Best Feeds.
The company, which was established as a family corporation in 2007, distributes products for cattle producers in an attempt to help utilize feed better and maximize growth.
Anderson notes that Agri-Best was formed as a family corporation in 2007 when his father-in-law, Irv Haidle was contacted by SweetPro.
“They told him that using SweetPro, cattle would eat 25 percent less hay and perform better,” explains Anderson. “He told them no and that it was too good to be true.”
Later, Anderson notes that the company approached Haidle a year later, at which point he agreed to try it on his own herd.
“He supplemented his cows and in six weeks, his hay was lasting 25 percent longer,” Anderson says. “That got his attention, so he used it again the following year.”
With similar results, Anderson comments that his father-in-law began marketing the product as a sole proprietor at the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) in 2006.
“There was lots of interest,” he mentions, “and the business exploded.”
With the incredible demand, Haidle brought in family members, including two sons and his son-in-law Scott. Though Irv has since passed today, his sons Daryl and Kevin Haidle and Kevin’s son Sammy Higgs work together with Anderson to continue to help Agri-Best Feeds to expand.
Agri-Best operates through a network of between 70 and 80 dealers and has the exclusive rights for sales in Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming.
This year, they were the number one distributer in cattle tonnage nationwide, the number four distributer in horse tonnage and number one overall.
Anderson says, “There are just under 10 million head of cattle in Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska, and we are serving about 0.5 percent of those at this point.”
He notes that they have lots of room to grow in the market and are confident they will continue to see growth because the product works and offers lots of benefits cattle.
SweetPro is a complete feed supplement, with all the vitamins, mineral and trace minerals that animals need.
“They are 50 percent chelated, or broken down outside the body,” explains Anderson.
As a result, it takes less energy for cattle to obtain the nutrients they seek from the supplement.
“What separates us from most supplements is that the protein in SweetPro is carried in distiller’s grain, which is a complex carbohydrate, rather than the simple sugars and starches that carry most protein supplements,” he explains. “It binds better with forages and help to break them down.”
A digestive aid is also included in the product.
“We blend in wheat, oats, barley and flax to give a wide amino acid profile,” he adds. “We are looking to maximize the animal’s health and performance to better utilize forage.”
The unique nature of the product allows the cattle rumen to maintain a more ideal pH for rumen microbes. At a pH of 6 to 6.5, microbes more effectively digest forage.
At the same times microbes are thriving, the rumen environment is unfriendly for pathogens.
“Cattle can go out and harvest rangelands that farmers can’t farm and convert it to meat and milk,” says Anderson. “SweetPro turns up the harvester so they get more value.”
Improved digestion leads to less hay use and results in lower costs.
“SweetPro costs between 45 and 47 cents per head per day to utilize,” says Anderson, noting that in his experience, the reduced hay feed costs from better utilization offsets that cost.
Ultimately, the family-owned business looks to continue to grow their market share and expand by educating consumers.
“We have a warehouse in Billings, Mont. that services Montana and much of Wyoming,” says Anderson. “We also have a warehouse in Nebraska for southeast Wyoming and Nebraska customers.”
He notes that they also strive to continue to educate consumers on feeding supplements to their cattle.
“We are doing more internet meetings and webinars to help producers evaluate this system from the comfort of their own homes,” he says. “We are working to develop our business.”