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Innovation in cattle mineral delivery

One of our core business values is a commitment to innovation. This sets CRYSTALYX® and Alltech apart from other providers of self-fed supplements. Innovators will challenge the status quo by offering new concepts and new solutions to both old and emerging challenges faced by livestock producers. Some naysayers may consider change to be unnecessary and expensive, while others will rush to offer “me too” products.

The BioBarrel® with WeatherAll® Protection: An excellent example of innovation and continued improvement

The BioBarrel is a patented, biodegradable and environmentally responsible single trip container made of small grain straw, wood fiber and a soy flour solution. The BioBarrel is truly a “feed it and forget it” container option. It saves time and labor and, as an added bonus, it’s good for the environment.

Unlike other block types, low moisture blocks such as CRYSTALYX require a container that makes the barrel a necessary part of the program. Without a container — or if it happens to flip over or to the side — low moisture blocks can slowly change shape and flow out. Unfortunately, I know a few customers who have learned this the hard way. A particularly memorable incident occurred when a customer’s forklift was not working, and the barrels were rolled to the back of the shed, but never turned back upright. What a mess!

CRYSTALYX has three container types for most products: steel, plastic and the aforementioned biodegradable BioBarrel. Of the three options, the BioBarrel is by far the most innovative for multiple reasons, including minimal environmental impact and saving the producer both time and money.

Most competitive low moisture blocks are delivered in plastic tubs, and they are non-returnable and, unfortunately, often not recycled. Both steel and plastic containers must be retrieved from the pasture or feeding area, requiring additional labor. In some areas, steel containers are returnable only after reconditioning and sanitizing. However, if the container has holes, excessive dents or has been used as a salt feeder, it cannot be returned. There are also additional labor costs and logistic challenges for the CRYSTALYX dealer.

Committed to continued improvement: The evolution of the BioBarrel 

  • 2006: BioBarrel was introduced. It was originally composed of ground straw and coated with a soy flour solution for binding. This true single-trip container performed well in dry pasture settings. However, the BioBarrel could not be stacked as high as steel containers and required a change in handling technique that was a challenge for some parts of the supply chain.

  • 2009: Making a stronger container. Improved durability was achieved by adding a proprietary mixture of wood fiber and ground straw. This improvement made the container stronger and also improved handling and shipping characteristics.

  • 2014: Improved weatherability. The BioBarrel continued to gain acceptance, but wet weather and less-than-ideal feeding situations challenged how well the container performed. The main challenge was moisture seeping into the container during rain and/or snow events, which caused the container to degrade faster than the product was consumed. The BioBarrel is now developed with WeatherAll Protection technology that enhances the weatherability of the container. Rain, mud and less-than-ideal feeding conditions are no longer a problem! Feed it and forget it.

The BioBarrel with WeatherAll is truly a prime example of innovation and of CRYSTALYX’s continued commitment to improvement. If you have yet to give this technology a try, now’s the time. Summer mineral and fly control products are ideal for BioBarrel delivery.