The CRYSTALYX® Earn to Learn™ program is back for another year and better than ever. This blog discussion is not about the performance of CRYSTALYX® on livestock, rather about today’s youth in agriculture; which is our future. The future of CRYSTALYX® is not only about cows but kids too.
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.
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.
We are still a long way off from knowing the final effects of the most widespread drought in the United States in more than 50 years. Given current market volatility and fears of feed shortages, it only makes sense to do everything in your power to make the most of available feedstuffs. Below are a list of tips that can help you make the most efficient use of available feed.
When in a drought situation, thoughts turn immediately to pastures. However water quality can drop off just as quickly during extended periods of hot, dry weather. Water is often the forgotten nutrient. We take it for granted that if there’s water available in the pen or pasture, that the livestock are set.
Hay is going to be more valuable than ever this year in light of the drought. For this reason, it is critical to maximize usable hay. Round bales are a popular means to harvest hay in many parts of the country. Proper round bale storage can make or break you. If your current storage method is allowing several inches of bale to rot, you might be surprised at how much hay is being wasted. The outer 4 to 6 inches, where most losses occur, make up a large percentage of the bale as shown in Table 1.
Nutritionists, along with producers, are always on the lookout for the next big thing to really improve livestock performance. In the case of nutritionists, we’re looking for products that pack a bigger nutritional punch per pound. Organic trace minerals are one of those advances that do bring a little more to the table. But what is an organic trace mineral?
Vitamin D is often known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is synthesized in response to exposure to sunlight. There are two major natural sources of vitamin D, cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). Vitamin D3 is synthesized in the skin of many herbivores and omnivores upon exposure to UV light from sunlight. Vitamin D2 is not found in green forages, but is formed when the dying leaves are exposed to sunlight. Thus, sun cured hay is a good dietary source of vitamin D2. Livestock utilize vitamin D3 much more efficiently than vitamin D2.
Congratulations! You made it through one of the worst droughts on record. Now that the rains have come and the grass is green again, your worries are over, right? Wrong! Now your livestock are picking up all of the parasites that lay dormant all of those months of drought. Are you ready?
Winter isn’t just for calving. Sheep and goat producers are gearing up for lambing/kidding season, too.
The last month of gestation is a key time in gestational development. Fetuses are rapidly growing and the body is mobilizing nutrients for milk production. Space in the rumen becomes a limiting factor. The rapidly growing lambs or kids push the uterus into the space normally occupied by the rumen, leaving less and less space for feed. Consequently, the dam may not have enough room in the rumen to get all her energy needs fulfilled (especially on an all-forage diet).