University of Milan beef finishing trial

11 Jul 2019

A recent trial was co-ordinated by Prof Carlo Rossi at the University of Milan Veterinary Sciences department in conjunction with Italian beef integrator, Ripamonti. The aim was to evaluate the effects of Maxammon treated maize when fed to beef cattle to determine physical and financial impact on health, growth performance and meat quality.

Maxammon is a proven grain treatment process resulting in improved rumen function and health that in turn drives increased performance (DLWG and FCR). Maxammon treated grain allows farmers to typically feed higher levels of starch from treated cereals, balanced with pulses and forage in the final ration.

The study was carried out in a typical north-Italian intensive beef fattening unit with over 100 Charolais bulls. It followed their progress from arrival through the entire fattening period of around 176 days. On arrival, animals were all subject to the same health programme before being grouped by weight and conformation and randomly allotted into 8 pens per experimental group. A Maxammon maize and maize silage based diet was compared to the standard high energy, maize and maize silage based diet. The diets were equivalent for energy and protein, but the Maxammon diet contained higher levels of starch (48 vs 42%).

 The comprehensive study recorded factors relating to health, growth performance and meat quality. The cattle were weighed at day 0, 60, 116 and 176 and feed intake was recorded allowing for FCR to be calculated. The health status of the cattle was monitored throughout the study with data relating to bloat and lameness recorded along with faecal starch. Boluses were placed in the rumens of 16 animals to analyse rumen characteristics and functionality. At the slaughterhouse carcass weight, dressing percentage, SEUROP classification and confirmation score were collected and meat samples were analysed for chemical composition, pH, colour, cooking loss and tenderness.

Key results:





% Difference




+ 3.7%

*Average daily (live) weight gain – measured in kg/d





% Difference




+ 5.4%

*FCR- feed conversion ratio – measured as kg of dry feed (dry matter basis) required to produce 1kg of liveweight gain (Therefore, a low value is better than a high value.)

Summary of key results:

  • Improved ADWG - overall ADWG was significantly higher in the Maxammon group, by between 60 and 80 g/d, depending on stage of feeding, 3.7% higher than control group.
  • Improved FCR - FCR in Maxammon group was 5.4% better than the control group.
  • Increased proportion of E carcasses in Maxammon group.
  • Reduced occurrence of bloat in Maxammon group.
  • Significantly reduced starch in faeces of Maxammon group means less wasted starch
  • Significantly increased faecal pH
  • Additional health benefits worth more than €50/head.


Researcher’s conclusion

Prof Carlo Angelo Sgoifo Rossi from the University of Milan Veterinary Sciences department commented:

“the greater performances expressed in treatment group, in terms of ADWG, could be related to the higher level of starch administered to this group with its higher digestibility due to the combined treatment with Maxammon and urea. These effects, in combination with the higher pH of Maxammon treated corn also significantly reduced the time of ruminal pH under the threshold values related to acidosis risk.”


Globally recognised, locally supported

Maxammon is produced by livestock feed manufacturer, Harbro Ltd. Headquartered in the UK, Harbro distributes Maxammon to over 20 countries and has had a local presence in Milan since 2017, run by Harbro Italy Country Manager, Luca Barbieri.  Maxammon has a proven track record across all ruminants and independent trials by leading agricultural organisations across the globe show consistently high performance across a variety of breeds and systems.

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