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Feeding CRYSTALYX® in winter weather, a Canadian perspective

Winter weather in Canada is often long and unpredictable. A recent Prairie Province storm in October 2022 was forecast to bring only half an inch of snow, but by the time it was done, certain areas saw over 24 inches on the ground. Winter can start in October and last well into April, creating challenges for cattle, people, getting equipment started, keeping water troughs thawed, and assuring hay and straw are available. Canadian winters are tough and labor intensive, so controlling costs with simple and easy-to-use tools is vital to managing a cow herd.

So, what can we do to make life easier? For one thing, feeding a low-moisture block like CRYSTALYX® can help by meeting nutritional requirements 24/7 with no special equipment needed and no waste due to winds, rain, snow and ice. This is in stark contrast to other types of supplements, such as poor-quality loose minerals, that get wet, compacted and virtually unusable in winter storms. 

As CRYSTALYX only holds 2­–5% moisture, it can be fed even in very cold weather and still maintain consistent intake. Other blocks containing 15% moisture or more can be unusable in extreme cold and negatively impact cow nutrition and body condition when they are most needed.

CRYSTALYX supplies extra protein and energy to help with poor-quality forages and improve fiber digestion in the rumen, enabling more nutrients to be taken from the feed. This saves money, especially as the prices of hay and all feedstuffs increase. With all input costs being higher this year, decisions must be made to improve tightening margins and take advantage of the better calf prices this year, which we have not seen since the 2014/2015 season.

To make the most of CRYSTALYX this winter, place barrels in protected areas, out of the elements, and near bedding areas, as cows tend to limit movement and stay close to feed sources rather than walk through deep and crusted snow to find supplements.

Overall, when we are calving in wintry weather, bulls and heifers can be neglected as the focus shifts to calving cows. Do not forget to take care of these animals, as too much is invested in genetics with replacement females and bulls. Feeding CRYSTALYX to these groups will benefit your operation while you battle the weather and storms.

CRYSTALYX provides numerous advantages in cold weather management. It offers better forage utilization, less management and superior mineral delivery than most other options. The brand has a long history in Canada and continues to grow in sales and application. Feeding CRYSTALYX low-moisture blocks can bring positive results to your herd.

 Take time to learn more about the brand and view the Canadian products available at www.crystalyx.com.