Optimizing Immunity in Cattle Feedlots in Turkey

Derek Gaffney, Export Manager

The Pinar brand has been synonymous with high quality food in Turkey for decades. As market leader for milk, meat and water products, the famous Pinar logo is highly visible and well respected throughout this beautiful country.

Pinar Et was founded in 1985 as the country’s first privately-owned integrated meat facility. Since then it has been supplying consumers with meat and meat products that are nutritious, delicious and innovative. Central to their success is the care and attention they take during each part of the process.

From feed manufacture, animal welfare and management to slaughtering, chilling, processing and packaging, nothing is left to chance.

Pinar Et Beef Facility

The Pinar Et beef facility at Kemalpaşa, Izmir fattens 3600 animals annually. The main breeds are Black and Red Angus, Hereford and Charolais, imported mainly from South America, as well as Holstein bull calves from Pinar’s own dairy farm. 

The average weight of animals entering the farm is 225 kg. By slaughter, they will have grown to 565 kg. They will kill-out at 57% for beef breeds and 55% for the Holsteins. 

The challenge?

To allow the animals to gain 340 kg weight in about 6 months achieving a carcass weight of 310–320 kg.

The solution?

Before all you nutritionists reach for a calculator to plan the perfect diet, there are other factors to be considered.

Animal Welfare – Settling in

Animal welfare is not only central to Pinar values but also key to good animal performance and eating quality. In order to allow the animals to settle in to their new surroundings the following protocol is followed:

For the first 3 days after arrival on farm the animals are allowed to settle down with a diet of clean hay and water. Maize silage is then introduced followed by concentrate feed so that the diet for the next 60 days contains 62% roughage and 38% concentrate. Then they gradually decrease the precentage of roughage through to finishing.

Quality forage, quality feed and good management of the changes in diet are key factors in avoiding problems and maintaining health and performance.

Immunity is key to success

Healthy animals, eating well is what you need. Immunity is key and feed intake reflects health. This is where the game is won or lost.

A good ‘rule of thumb’ to consider is that beef animals under 275 kg do not have a fully functioning immune system, especially if they have travelled a long distance to get to the farm.   Rest, rehydration and rumen restoration need to be given priority over the first few days. Then we can focus on building up the animals’ immunity through vaccinations and feeding management. But, what type of feeding?

Suomen Rehu, Natural Feed Innovations from Finland in collaboration with their distribution partner in Turkey, AGC Tarim were honored to assist Pinar in helping to support the animals’ natural immunity with their New Generation Yeast Hydrolysate Product – Progut® Rumen. 

Progut® Rumen supports rumen function, natural immunity and performance

Progut® Rumen is a ‘3 in 1’ yeast product, processed in a special way to maximize the efficacy of the yeast. It has been proven in published trials to support the natural immunity of the animal as well as improving rumen efficiency and performance.

Considering the starting point for animals arriving on farm is usually a vaccination program, we believed that Progut® Rumen could enhance the response to the vaccines and limit the negative effects on feed intake that usually follow. Mr. Uğur Helvaci Veterinarian for Pinar agreed to give it a try.

Vaccination Program

After arrival on farm, the animals are weighed and treated for parasites. One week later, they receive their foot and mouth disease vaccine which is repeated after 21 days later. Then, after 3 more weeks the LSD (Lumpy Skin Disease) vaccine. These vaccinations are obligatory in Turkey. Then the vaccinations for respiratory disease and finally Leptospirosis.

This program enhances the animals resistence to disease. However, according to Uğur Helvaci, there is usually a drop in feed intake after the vaccinations as the animals take time to recover. Also Pinar would like to see better intakes prior to the vaccinations as this would help give more energy to overcome the stress during this time.

Results with Progut® Rumen

Progut® Rumen was added to the feed at 1,5 kg/tonnes to enhance rumen function and to help stimulate immunity. Prior to the Progut® Rumen introduction the average feed intake on the feedlot was 8 kg Dry Matter and average liveweight gain was 1,21 kg/day.

21 days after Progut® Rumen was introduced, the intake had risen to 9,29 kg and the liveweight gain went up to 1,44 kg.

In addition to this Çağlar Bulut and Uğur Helvaci observed that the animals seemed to be less stressed and were eating more prior to vaccination and there was no intake drop post vaccination. It actually increased.


Feed Intake (Dry Matter) Without Progut® Rumen With Progut® Rumen
Prior to vaccination 6 kg 8,16 kg
For 5 days post vaccination 5,38 kg 8,27 kg

They could see that the animals were chewing the cud and laying down for longer which leads to better daily weight gain.


There are many factors that influence the success of Pinar Et Beef Feedlot. A stress free induction, rumen function development and building up the natural immunity of the animals are the key cornerstones.

Suomen Rehu were delighted that Progut® Rumen was seen to have such a positive impact on these processes. We would like to stress that this was a farm trial carried out on a working commercial farm. However, the observations are interesting as they concur with work we have published where Progut® Rumen was seen to positively influence immune response in calves.

Suomen Rehu would like to thank Pinar Et sincerely for giving us the opportunity to prove its power. Many thanks also to Gözde Ariner and Ahmet Adil from AGC, without whom, this trial would not have been possible.