Have you ever watched a football game where a clearly superior team was winning, only to let up late in the game and allow the lesser opponent get close or even make a stellar come-back to win? I love NCAA collegiate football and I’ve seen this happen. It’s either frustrating or exhilarating depending on who your team is, but regardless, no team should ever let up the fight on the field.
Over the past few years of blogging on www.crystalyx.com, several articles have been written about using CRYSTALYX® in calf weaning and receiving systems. I’ve been involved in marketing CRYSTALYX® for over 15 years and would honestly say that utilizing it in a weaning/receiving situation is the most visible and expedient way to experience the value in this supplement. The practice of using Brigade® in weaning and receiving programs is well accepted, even automatic with many producers. And folks selling CRYSTALYX® should make Brigade® a part of their nutritional offering.
Last week Mark Robbins had an excellent blog written in regards to the fat content of CRYSTALYX®. He explained the changes made to fat levels in the “HE” line of products and what that change of 1 or 2% fat really means in terms of actual energy. The bottom line is that the fat content of CRYSTALYX®, while providing some energy, really is a small contributor as an energy source in products containing 3-5% fat. We do not want to discount the value of fat in any supplement as CRYSTALYX® does market a high fat product, Omega-lyx™ which has a much more significant fat level (12%).
It’s true; the vast majority of CRYSTALYX® fed is used for the purpose of supplementing cattle, and beef cattle at that. However, CRYSTALYX® has had products labeled for all classes of equines for a long time having good results with satisfied horse owners using products such as Stable-lyx®. Within the CRYSTALYX® product line, there are actually four products that are labeled for equines; I’ll write here most about Stable-lyx® .
It’s often mentioned that a key benefit or the #1 job description of CRYSTALYX® is to improve forage utilization, especially of low quality forage (low protein and high fiber content). This is true and its one of the reasons cattle and CRYSTALYX® work so well together. Cows can digest forage and CRYSTALYX® can help them do it much more efficiently; up to 20% better in some of our past studies.
One of my early feed career mentors, Mick Lovelace, was famous for teaching me and several colleagues I still work with today the value of mineral supplementation. It wasn’t the importance of mineral nutrition that Mick taught but rather the importance of consistent and predictable intake with self-fed supplements. One of his favorite sayings was, “there’s two ways to supplement cattle, our way or the wrong way.” While this is definitely a biased statement and overlooking lots of good products, the take home message he was conveying was that a mineral program, no matter how good it looks on paper, isn’t worth anything if intake is improper or management is lacking.
CRYSTALYX® is a supplement in the market that we often refer to as value added. There are a lot of different definitions to value added. A text book definition from Feeds and Feeding 101 may read something like this: “taking commodity ingredients and changing the makeup to be something much better where the sum is greater in value than the parts.” Another simpler definition and one a customer using CRYSTALYX® would expect is “give me something I can use that’s valuable and makes my operation just a little (or a lot) better. “
Welcome to January 2014! I was traveling last week in a part of the U.S. that was affected by winter weather. While I don’t want to downplay the added stress severe cold can cause, I was somewhat amused by the media’s coverage of what most of us in the Ag world understand as simply “Winter,” and not necessarily “Polar Vortex.”
Several recent blogs have mentioned the fundamental values of CRYSTALYX® supplementation. Topics on the value of getting cattle in better shape for winter, utilizing forages more effectively and efficiently, calf weaning and health, and raising replacement heifers. Supplementation definitely pays, more so now than ever with the value of feeder, fat, and replacement cattle.
The frequency of supplementation to beef cattle grazing pasture or being fed hay has a lot of ongoing commentary. There’s good research on this topic dating back a few decades, and more recently with range beef cattle in Oregon (Schauer et al., 2005; Bohnert et al., 2002). Many metabolism studies comparing the efficiency of the strategies of daily supplementation compared to alternate days or even weekly intervals have been conducted. Much of this current data has concluded that cow performance related to body condition score was not negatively impacted by the frequency of supplementation, nor were other parameters such as dry matter intake digestibility or grazing duration. Some conclusions were based on the fact that ruminants can recycle Nitrogen from protein supplementation rather efficiently and maintain adequate levels in their body to support protein needs during periods of infrequent supplementation.