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How pasture costs affect your supplementation decisions

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Range Beef Cow Symposium in Loveland, Colorado. This educational program is designed specifically for cow-calf producers grazing rangelands in Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. There were over 800 producers, University faculty and students and beef industry representatives who attended with a variety of topics dealing with all aspects of economics, production management, genetics, reproduction, market/consumer trends and enterprise management.

One topic that started off the symposium was a presentation on cattle economics looking towards the future. James Robb, Ag Economist with the Livestock Market Information Center reviewed a number of factors within the beef industry as well as for competing animal proteins. He then took a look at production costs and how they have dramatically increased, especially in the last 5 years, up to over $900 per cow! He said not to look at things we have usually singled out in the past like increased oil/gas prices as they are not the culprit. In particular, he mentioned how costs associated with pasture rents have been a major source of these increases and they do not look at retreating anytime soon. In the past, feeding hay was the most expensive thing we did, today opening the pasture gate is a closer second. His words of encouragement to “Look hard at getting the most out of your forages” seemed to beg for a follow-up topic to address his challenge. But there really wasn’t anything to follow that went ahead and provided guidance or potential options that maximize forage utilization.

So many times when we talk about supplement programs that incorporate CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements we feel one of the biggest talking points is regarding effects on the cattle. Ultimately this is what pays the bills, but it’s through the efficient harvesting of forage we are able to maximize our profitability. There are a couple of key areas where we have considerable research that helps ensure you “Get the most out of your Forages”.  First there is providing rumen degradable protein in our protein supplements to help improve low quality forage digestibility and increase forage intake. This favorably increases microbial growth in the rumen, which helps cattle get more from your pastures. 

The second area and one that is often overlooked, is the power that CRYSTALYX® has on grazing distribution. Because of the palatable nature of CRYSTALYX® you can simply locate barrels in underutilized areas of your pastures and provide an incentive for cattle to stay in that location and graze forages they typically might avoid. The grazing distribution work that has been done in the past easily demonstrates both cattle and pasture benefits of managing your pastures with CRYSTALYX® supplementation. Click here to view the detailed Grazing Management research video.

Providing key nutrients to your cow-calf herd is of utmost importance to maximize your genetics while optimizing performance, given the resources that you have on hand. Forages that have limited use other than through ruminant animals converting them to consumable protein are a, if not the, primary resource at your fingertips and holds true throughout North America.

It appears that the top of the cattle cycle has been reached and we are now looking at prices coming down. That said, we are still in very profitable conditions when comparing to past years. Ok, here come my corny analogies. So, if last year was a homerun, we still have doubles and possibly triples ahead. A good supplementation program like CRYSTALYX® can help you gain extra bases by stealing more energy from forages that you already have on hand.

CRYSTALYX®…Give it a Ride!