Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
Microbial Terroir

Is your farm like a vineyard? Microbes think so.

Posted June 06, 2019 by ARM & HAMMER

Your farm and a wine vineyard have a lot in common. Both face a variety of environmental challenges that affect ultimate success—everything from soil quality to climate and the threat of drought.

Looked at differently, though, each farm—like each vineyard—is also unlike others, with environmental challenges uniquely its own. This “same, but different” approach to vineyard management is nothing new in the wine industry. In fact, it has its own hard-to-pronounce name.

Hard to pronounce, important to know.

Wine grape growers regularly talk about something called terroir to discuss the growing environment of their grapes. While it’s difficult to pronounce (tare-wah), understanding it can make dealing with your animals’ challenges much simpler.

Just as differing factors in different regions affect the wine produced there, the Microbial Terroir, or microbial makeup of your soil, feed ingredients and the animals themselves, can affect growth and production.

Ignorance is anything but bliss.

Everything around your animals affects them, good and bad. Sampling the Microbial Terroir on your farm can help determine what microbial challenges are affecting your animals so you can address those challenges directly.

As wine grape growers know, ignoring the uniqueness of the total environment—the Microbial Terroir—can have a profoundly negative impact on productivity and profits. The same holds true when dealing with the challenges that your animals are facing.

What challenges are out there?

Clostridium perfringens is the pathogenic strain of clostridia. In cattle, it’s a known cause of Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome (HBS)1. Non-pathogenic strains of clostridia aren’t good either—they can impact rumen and GI function silently killing productivity and efficiency.

In poultry, Avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) is another productivity killer. Subclinical levels of APEC cause greater variation in bird performance and lost bird potential.

What’s your next, best move?

Microbial Terroir is not a product. It’s an assessment of your unique environment. After it’s performed, you’ll either get a blend of Bacillus strains customized just for you or, more often, a regional blend that matches your needs and targets your specific challenges.

Naming names.

The Bacillus-based product you’ll receive from ARM & HAMMER™ after an assessment is called CERTILLUS. Available for dairy, beef and poultry, it uses proprietary strains of Bacillus to help animals become more resilient—so they’re able to combat these challenges and maintain health and productivity.

What to expect when you’re Terroir-ing.

After assessing the Microbial Terroir and implementing a solution on your farm, ARM & HAMMER can re-sample, providing updated reports on your pathogen load to determine just how well things are working.

Sample collection varies by species.

Ruminants – Samples of TMR and feces are collected and sent to a lab for evaluation.

Poultry – GIT samples are collected and analyzed in the lab.

After ARM & HAMMER has analyzed your samples, you’ll receive a visit from your sales rep who will walk you through your personalized report. Your unique dendrogram will show which pathogens are present on your farm and which strains of Bacillus will be most effective.

You can learn more about Microbial Terroir by talking to one of our reps today.


1 McGuirk, S. “Managing Clostridial Disease in Cattle.” Univ of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. Report on file.

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