Championing breakout technology

It’s one thing to have great feed technology. It’s another to get it into the right package and into the right hands so it can make a real difference on the farm.

Success often depends on partnerships – and the added strength, reach and synergies they produce. For Canadian Bio-Systems Inc., a leading example is its relationship with Wilbur Ellis Feed – the commanding U.S. based presence in the marketing and distribution of value-added animal feed ingredients across North America and beyond, with roots stretching back to 1921.

“You can’t ask for a better partner than Wilbur-Ellis Feed,” says Krisjan Jones, Operations Director for CBS Inc. “It’s reputation, longevity, and continual push for innovation and improvement speaks for itself. The people we deal with at Wilbur-Ellis truly represent those strengths and bring a lot to the table to create a highly valued partnership that is mutually beneficial.”

CBS Inc. in its own right has proven itself as a pioneer and ongoing leading innovator with over three decades of advancements in the research, development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of leading-edge feed technology – bringing a wealth of value to the relationship.

Now several years into a joint marketing agreement focused primarily on the distribution of feed enzymes into the U.S. Market, the partnership forged between CBS Inc. and Wilbur-Ellis has produced a growing number of advantages and key wins for both companies.

The most recent breakout advancement spawned from this partnership, officially launched at the 2017 Iowa Pork Congress is the new sow-focused feed technology product, Engest.

Heralded as a ground-breaking new option for swine operations to enhance sow performance and welfare in the new ‘post VFD’ (Veterinary Feed Directive) world, Engest was unveiled as a first-of-its kind feed technology uniquely designed to support the needs of sows, particularly during critical periods such as lactation. A natural, bio-based product simple to add to existing sow diets, Engest mitigates the negative impacts of stress while optimizing feed efficiency, gut health and nutrition capture.

Here are insights on the new product from several members of the Wilbur-Ellis Feed team, including Bryce Martin, Midwest Nutrition Sales Manager; Dennis McDermott, Nutrition Product Group Manager Manager; and JD Baltzell, Eastern Nutrition Sales Manager; along with Mark Peters, Director of Sales and Marketing for CBS Inc. and Rob Patterson, Technical Director of CBS Inc. All sat down for a discussion with FeedScape at the recent Prairie Livestock Expo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

A game changer in sow performance

Martin: “We couldn’t be more pleased or excited about this product. It has the potential to be a real game changer, not only for the profitability of swine operations but also for enhancing animal welfare – an issue that has never been more important to customers and consumers.”

McDermott: “Swine operations that incorporate Engest into their feeding strategies have the potential not only to improve the economics of the production cycle, but also to become a preferred supplier of high-quality, sustainably produced pork. We’ve seen this happen with key products for major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Tysons. The same potential is there for operations that use Engest.”

Patterson: “Engest features our CBS Inc. Superzyme feed enzyme technology, which is a proven winner in other phases of swine production as represents the latest advances in multi-carbohydrase feed enzyme technology. Through our partnership, the formulation has been carefully tailored and optimized to deliver multi-benefits for sows. It’s a dynamic, high-impact product for enhancing sow performance and welfare, generating a swath of major benefits for the sows themselves as well as for multiple aspects of production.”

Tapping new pathways to profitability

Martin: “The sow is really the engine that drives swine production, yet while there have been strong gains through genetics and management approaches, it’s also a focal point that has been largely untouched by feed additives. That’s where we saw the opportunity.

“Engest is designed to open the potential for innovative feed technology much wider, as an option tailored to the needs of sows that delivers a quick, reliable and sustained return on investment. It gives producers the opportunity to capture a lot of profit potential that has been largely untapped.”

Helping producers farm profitably and meet new expectations

Peters: “This product couldn’t come at a better time. In addition to its many unique advantages, Engest serves as a viable alternative to not only meet but far exceed the production benefits associated with medicated feed. It provides a timely and valuable option following the Jan. 1, 2017 full implementation of the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), which greatly restricts medicated feed use. Engest also enters the market during a period where the expectations and demands to show responsible animal welfare practices keep getting higher. It’s a product built for the future, that meets the needs and expectation of modern swine production”

McDermott: "The direct benefits of Engest for sows also support multiple additional benefits that extend to the full herd and production cycle. Examples include improved fertility, higher annual pigs per sow ratios with higher repeatability, reduced pre-weaning mortality and more productive piglets – all supporting significantly improved economics and profitability for swine operations.”

Martin: “Engest also supports post-lactation recovery, further supporting the welfare of sows and allowing them to return to production sooner at a high level of comfort, health and energy.”

Proven winner keeps building track record of success

Baltzell: “We knew the feed enzyme technology was a strong winner from what we had seen from its application other phases of swine production. Engest focuses and further enhances that technology to maximize advantages for sows. We’re seeing nothing but good things from the on farm results so far. It has been a real eye-opener for the producers who we have tapped to try it out before the market launch.”

Martin: “It’s very exciting to see the strong and broad benefits Engest is producing, which confirms when you improve performance and welfare at the sow level it translates to gains across the full spectrum of production. With Engest, producers ensure they get the most out of genetics and management approaches because those aspects are not undermined by stress or sub-optimal or depleted nutrition. For example, we see some approaches hitting the elusive 30 pigs per sow level – Engest can help support and bring in the repeatability to that type of achievement.”

Patterson: “From a feed technology standpoint, these types of very pronounced benefits are what a growing number of producers have coming to expect from options that utilize multi-carbohydrase enzymes. The multi-carbohydrase technology embedded in Superzyme, and through Superzyme into Engest, is different from other ‘NSP enzymes and mixed enzyme approaches. This technology utilizes multiple unique enzyme strains and multiple enzyme activities, that are painstakingly identified, researched and developed to ensure they complement one another seamlessly and deliver a high level of both individual and synergistic benefits. The benefits from this approach go far above and beyond more rudimentary approaches such as simply blending single-source enzymes together. Feed technology is all about optimization and that’s what Engest represents for the unique needs of sows.”

Baltzell: “The best vote of confidence you can get is when a producer calls and increases their order or sees new benefits before you even point them out. I remember one call I had the other day: ‘JD, when did we start with that Engest.’ I told him and he could almost mark the day on the calendar when a bunch of improvements started to come in. Disease was down, productivity was at a brand new level and the investment was paying for itself and then some after just a few months. The buzz around this product is like I’ve seen for a long time. It’s going to be an exciting year ahead for Engest – and more importantly, for the producers who can take advantage of it.”

Learn more about Wilbur-Ellis Feed

Wilbur-Ellis Feed, LLC, is a marketer and distributor of value-added ingredients for livestock, pet food and aquaculture industries in North America and New Zealand. More information is available at

Learn more about Superzyme and multi-carbohydrase technology

More information on Superzyme is available at