July is here, and with it, some of the hottest days of the summer are just ahead of us. Self-fed intake of CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements can be higher in the summer/warmer months. During the manufacturing process, CRYSTALYX® is packaged in to barrels at a temperature of approximately 150 to 175 degrees. At this temperature, CRYSTALYX® is very pliable, much like Play Doh® or thick cookie dough. As it cools, it becomes hard. Hardness is a primary factor in determining the self-fed intake of CRYSTALYX®. As you would expect, if CRYSTALYX® warms back up towards that 150 degree temperature, it will become softer again. That is just the nature of a Low-Moisture Block.
What do BioBarrels®, 48 row corn planters, GPS and net wrap have in common? They all allow one person to do much more than you could, 10 or 20 years ago.
Looking at how agriculture has progressed in the last generation, we have seen any number of innovations that allow you to do much more with your time. Much of this was necessary as today’s farmers and ranchers need to operate more acres or total animals than their parents and grandparents did, just to maintain a similar living.
This may show that I watch a little too much reality TV, or, as a Friend calls it, “Far from reality TV”, but, I many times hear the phrase “this is a game changer”. People mining for gold in Alaska, may bring some new equipment or technology into play, and they proudly state, “This, is a game changer”, hoping to strike it rich.
Saying that change is coming is about as earth shattering as saying the sun will rise again tomorrow.
Having traveled around the country a bit in the last month, I have had the chance to hear some reactions from beef producers and Allied Industry Associates on the upcoming Voluntary Removal of some antibiotics and/or antibiotic claims from feeds. Removing some antibiotics from feeds is certainly a change for us. The intent of the rule is to reduce the amount of antibiotics used in animal agriculture. You will still be able to use most antibiotics to treat or prevent diseases, but using antibiotics for claims to increase feed efficiency, or to increase rate of gain, will come to an end after December of 2016. Antibiotics in feed for prevention and treatment of diseases will remain available, but will require veterinarian oversight in the form of a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). If you wish to use allowed antibiotics in feeds in 2017, you will need to have a good working relationship with a veterinarian.
Remember that old advertisement that stated, “We don’t make a lot of the products you buy,… We make a lot of the products you buy, better?” It was actually trademarked for a time, by BASF Corporation. I have always thought that it applied very well to how CRYSTALYX® works. I might change it just a little, to state that, “We don’t make a lot of your assets,… We make a lot of your assets, better.”
Having just returned from the Cattle Fax Outlook seminar last week, I would say the message for cow-calf producers was that 2014 and 2015 could be looked back upon as our most profitable years in the cow-calf business. That is not to say that 2016 forward will not be profitable, quite the contrary, but, as the cow herd (and calves marketed) begins to truly increase in 2016, there is certainly the opportunity for the old economic law of supply and demand to kick in. Of course, demand can always increase and change some of those projections. I believe we all know that developing countries have a greatly increasing desire for, and ability to purchase, animal protein. We usually think this market is most all pork and poultry, but there were certainly indications that beef will benefit from this increased need for protein. Suffice it to say, we have a number of very profitable years ahead in the cow-calf business.
A couple of weeks ago I was reading about some research conducted by Dr. Monte Rouquette, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research Scientist, at Overton, TX. The study used yearlings, and compared 3 different levels of DDGs supplementation on Bermuda Grass to a control treatment (no DDGs supplement). The DDGs supplementation levels were 0.25% of body weight, 0.5% of body weight and 1% of body weight/hd/d. The control cattle gained 1.53 lbs./hd/d. Both the 0.25% of body weight and the 0.5% of body weight treatments gained 2.22 lbs./hd/d. The cattle receiving 1% of their body weight of the DDGs supplement gained 2.53 lbs./hd/d. As you might expect, the article mentions that the 1% of body weight treatment (800 pound animals receiving about 8 pounds of supplement) was actually acting as a replacement for the forage. You will often hear us preach about CRYSTALYX® not being a replacement, but a true supplement for your forage, which is most always the cheapest source of energy for your herd. You can find the full article at http://www.cattlenetwork.com/cattle-news/Stocker-gains-more-than-25-pounds-per-head-per-day-realized-278377821.html
Many of you have probably heard the cliché “Perception equals reality” or “Perception is reality”. It is very true in any industry or for any subject. Many of us “know” that lowering the tailgate on your pickup will give you better fuel economy. The TV show Myth-Busters tested this on their show, and could not find that it increased fuel economy. They received so much mail claiming that they must have done something wrong, that they did it a second time, with different methodology, and again found no advantage to this tried and true practice that we all used at one time or another. While I still find it tempting to lower the tailgate on long trips, I resist, and trust the science behind what I have come to believe is the reality of the situation. Besides, I really don’t want to lose some of that junk in the truck box.
Beginning this week in August, you will notice that we have changed the formulation of the “HE” CRYSTALYX® products. These were some of the oldest CRYSTALYX® products in existence. The “HE” in their name used to stand for “High Energy”. I say “used to”, because since I got involved with formulating the CRYSTALYX® products over 19 years ago, I also got involved with the marketing of them. I noticed that most every promotional flier we had on CRYSTALYX® products at the time, usually listed “high energy” as the first bullet point. Having access to the energy values of the various formulas, I could quickly see that the energy contained in ¾ pound of CRYSTALYX® was approximately the same as ¾ pound of corn. Now I agree that corn is relatively high in energy compared to straw, but I would struggle to promote CRYSTALYX® as high in energy, given that you could get the same amount of energy in ¾ pound of corn for much less money. We began having the “High Energy” bullet points removed from our advertising materials, and I slept better at night.
Back in November of 2013, I wrote a blog about how numbers change every day. We are still setting records for cattle prices 7 months later. I saw a video on YouTube where some 425# calves brought $301/cwt on a video auction. August feeder cattle have been over $200/cwt for more than a week now. The cattle markets are hot, and we best take advantage of them! Or as the old cliché says, “Strike while the iron is hot!”