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Does CRYSTALYX® Pencil Out for a Summer Mineral Program?

Does Crystalyx® pencil out for a summer mineral program? It certainly does! Let’s look at some examples.

Yearlings perform better
Whether they’re cows, calves or yearlings, your animals will perform better and more efficiently on grass if macro and trace mineral deficiencies are corrected. For now, let’s focus on the benefits for yearlings.

We ran a trial on yearlings with three treatments:
• A control group without any mineral supplementation
• A group on a pressed mineral block
• A group on our Sweetlix® pressed mineral block, with 800 grams per ton of Rumensin®.

The mineral supplementation alone increased average daily gain (ADG) by 0.2 lb./hd/d. Sweetlix, with Rumensin added to the block, increased ADG by another 0.2 lb./hd/d. On such a program, that 0.2 pounds on yearlings will be worth at least 40¢ this fall, and 0.4 pounds will be worth 80¢.

Crystalyx® Crystal-Phos™ 4 will feed for about 20¢/hd/d. That is a 2:1 ROI. While we do not have Rumensin in Crystalyx, we do have Bovatec® in our Iono-lyx® formula. Past Iono-lyx feeding demonstrations have shown a 0.4 lb./hd/d improvement in ADG, similar to the Rumensin block mentioned above. Iono-lyx will cost about 50¢/hd/d, giving an ROI of 1.6:1 this summer. As grass matures and loses protein content in July or August, the 28% protein in Iono-lyx will improve ADG by another 0.2 lb./hd/d, and your ROI will move to 2.4:1 the last half of the grazing season. This is why Iono-lyx is a great choice for fall and winter grazing/backgrounding programs and for developing replacement heifers.

Cow-calf pairs perform better
While I do not have data comparing cow-calf pairs with and without a mineral program, we have estimated in previous blogs that trying to save $110 per cow per year by not spending on a supplement actually returns $70 per cow less than the returns of a typical supplement program using inorganic trace minerals. This is a 1.6:1 ROI.

We do have substantial data comparing our Blueprint® mineral formulas to typical inorganic trace mineral formulas. Blueprint-supplemented herds averaged the following improvements over those given inorganic trace mineral formulas:
• 2.7% increase in conception rate
• 24-pound improvement in weaning weight
• 2.1% decrease in pre-weaning mortality

If you figure those averages per 100 cows in your herd, you have 4.8 more calves, and the calves are 24 pounds heavier on average. If you have 600-pound calves and a 93% weaning rate, this is over 5,200 pounds more total weaning weight. At $250/CWT, that equals $13,000, a gain of just over 35¢/hd/d on an investment of less than 4¢/hd/d to move to a Blueprint program. That’s an impressive ROI of better than 8:1 on the decision to move to Blueprint. More calves, heavier calves, healthier calves.

Also, remember that calves weaned off of a good summer mineral program continue to perform better in a feedlot or backgrounding yard due to their enhanced immune systems. They respond better to vaccinations and shipping fever treatments than immunocompromised calves from ranches without summer mineral programs. Feedlots do notice this when they buy your calves. If you retain ownership of your calves, you will reap these rewards of a summer mineral program.

Why Crystalyx for mineral delivery?
Calves and yearlings will perform better in a feedlot if they have been on a good mineral program all summer. As Jill Peine noted this spring, though, consistency is crucial. Too little intake won’t deliver the necessary nutrients to reach peak performance, but too much intake can be wasteful and become very costly for the producer’s pocketbook.

Crystalyx mineral intakes are consistent and controlled at the recommended levels. Just as importantly, they offer superior palatability and uniformity of intake. After all, no matter what formulation of minerals you provide, if your cows do not consume it, they will not get the benefits. Research from Montana State University has convincingly demonstrated that over 90% of cattle frequent a Crystalyx mineral supplement, compared to only about 60% of cattle with a conventional dry bagged mineral.

Crystalyx is also easy to use. It requires no mineral feeders, and rain does not increase wastage or hamper intake of the supplement. You can take that thought a step further by using a Crystalyx® BioBarrel® with WeatherAll®, so you no longer have to pick up, return or dispose of empty containers.

With Crystalyx, you get more cows actually on the mineral program, with lower labor and equipment costs. Win, win, win, with Crystalyx!

What else can Crystalyx minerals deliver?
Let’s talk fly control. Maybe this should have been the first topic, as it has the largest ROI! Crystalyx is a great delivery tool for oral fly control agents like Altosid®, ClariFly® or even garlic, if you are in a natural beef program that does not allow other types of fly control. Keep in mind, though, that garlic only repels flies, not breaking their life cycle.
If 10%, 20% or 30% more of your herd consumes Crystalyx minerals with fly control, versus conventional minerals, just think how much more effective your overall herd fly control program
will be. Calf weaning weights and yearling gains can be negatively impacted from 4% to 15% by nuisance flies. If we pick 10% on average, that is 60 pounds or $150 on a 600-pound calf. Fly control will cost you from 2¢ to 2.5¢/hd/d. Feeding oral fly control for 150 days would cost you less than $4 per pair: an amazing 37:1 ROI. Elon Musk would not be able to find that sort of a return on his investments in 150 days. But you can, because you own beef cattle!

We have both Altosid and ClariFly available in Crystalyx mineral formulas. Remember that Altosid controls the horn fly, whereas ClariFly controls four different flies (horn fly, face fly, house fly, stable fly). Preventing the face fly is important since it is a major vector for Moraxella bovis, the main bacteria that cause pinkeye.

The bottom line
A Crystalyx mineral program is an investment of only 20¢ to 24¢/hd/d. For that, you may see returns from 40¢ to over $1.40/hd/d, if flies are particularly heavy this year.
Crystalyx Iono-lyx® will cost you about 50¢ a day, and you can see returns from 80¢ on lush grass to $1.20/hd/d as grass matures.