On the Blog

The last word (for 2013 anyway)

I’ve been last for most of my life…alphabetical, height, foot races, etc. It’s rare that I get the last word, though not for a lack of trying. So I’m honored to be the last blog post of 2013. 

My colleagues and I try to find thought provoking, timely and useful topics to discuss with you each week. The most obvious topic for the last day of the year would be a retrospective, but that one has been claimed. So here are my thoughts for 2014.

2014 will be the year of the heifer

The Chinese calendar says it’s the year of the horse, but I’m certain it’s the year of the heifer. It’s raining in parts of the US that have been locked in drought. Western South Dakota producers are making plans for herd recovery following Winter Storm Atlas. Heifer placements in the feedlot are trending down. That adds up to 2014 being a year to rebuild. Your opportunity is to maximize heifer performance prior to breeding (see my blog from Nov 19th). Getting the heifers ready to breed before your cow herd is the goal and CRYSTALYX® has the supplements that can get you there.

 2014 will have strange ingredient markets

There has been a shift in the ingredient world as dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) are now being called a protein ingredient. DDGS prices no longer track corn prices. The people I know in purchasing are painting a bleak picture for prices and supplies to start out 2014 and will only talk about a few months out. How does this relate to a cow/calf producer? Opportunities for stocker cattle. If prices stay high, feedlots may start looking to purchase heavier cattle. You can deliver on this potential market shift, and maintain feed costs by utilizing a number of CRYSTALYX® supplements. Protein and minerals help maximize forage utilization; adding an ionophore will push gains on pasture even higher without the need for additional feed or grain

2014 will be a year of change

There are a number of changes happening within the feed industry right now. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will require all feed manufacturers to have critical control point plans in place to ensure a safe feed supply. Ridley Block Operations already has plans and certifications in place that meet and, in some points, exceed the requirements of FSMA. We take feed safety and quality very seriously and are proud to be able to offer safe, consistent and high quality supplements to all our customers.

The other major change that is coming is the voluntary phase out of antibiotic use for feed efficiency and rate of weight gain (excluding ionophores). This change to medicated feed additives has been coming for a long time (see Tim Clark’s blog from Dec 24th). This change will cause headaches and growing pains, however, it’s an opportunity to show our non-ag customers that the industry is committed to judicious use of all medicated feed additives.

2014 is the year of Can Do

Why not take the bull by the horns and lead him to the barrel? Now is as good a time as any to up your game with your supplement program. Studies have shown an improvement in stocker gains on wheat pasture by simply trading the salt block for a complete trace mineral block. Talk about an opportunity! The Ridley Block Operations nutritionists will be at the NCBA Convention in Nashville, TN, and the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, SD; stop by the booth and let’s talk about ways to up your game in 2014. If you can’t make it, go to our website (www.crystalyx.com) and drop us a note on the Contact Us page.

On behalf of everyone at Ridley Block Operations, thank you for your business in 2013. We look forward to all the opportunities that 2014 will present. We wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year.