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.
Most Cattlemen are aware of two types of protein supplements. Those that are called an “all-natural”1, and those that utilize some urea, or other form of non-protein nitrogen (NPN). It is not unusual for Cattlemen to hesitate, or outright refuse to use a supplement containing NPN. Instances of overconsumption with free-choice supplements containing NPN have occasionally caused animal deaths. This is usually due to a combination of environmental factors (e.g., forage or water availability), and often times it is exacerbated by the previous plane of nutrition of the cattle involved. Still, many cattle are safely and effectively supplemented each year with a supplement containing some NPN.
2012 has been a tough year for many in our business so far. The negatives of the drought and its effect on the industry continue to make headlines. In times such as these I find it important to remind customers, prospects and fellow colleagues of the basic fundamentals of CRYSTALYX® supplement programs. During opportune or inopportune times (depending on how you see the glass as ½ full or empty), a lot of producers and sales people study alternatives which means there are new people looking at CRYSTALYX® programs.
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.