On the Blog

Innovations are not just nice, they are necessary

A couple of years ago, I posed the following question: What do BioBarrels®, 48 row corn planters, GPS and net wrap have in common? They all allow one person to do much more than you could, 10 or 20 years ago.

Innovations are a necessity

Looking at how agriculture has progressed in the last generation, we have seen any number of innovations that allow you to do much more with your time. Much of this is necessary, as today’s farmers and ranchers need to operate many more acres or care for many more animals, than their parents and grandparents did, just to maintain a similar living. If you are not adopting new and innovative technology, you may be falling behind or becoming irrelevant in your chosen industry. 

Covering more acres in less time

When I was a kid, most planters were still 4 rows, and 38 to 40 inches wide. Some quick math looks like you could get roughly 10 times as many acres planted today with a 48 row (30 inch row) planter. While cattle herds are bigger, they probably have not increased by a factor of 10 and not all farmers are using 48 row planters yet, but the technology is there for those who need it or want it. Coupling it with GPS navigation and no-till or minimum till technology truly puts you in the realm of rocket science innovations necessary to feed 9+ billion people by 2050.

Net wrap may cost more, but…

Similarly, about increasing productivity I have found more than one site on the internet that will allow you to calculate your potential savings of using net wrap versus twine. Net wrap is going to cost you 2-3 times more than twine, but you need to look at other advantages to see the total or true savings of using net wrap. Those advantages can include; less time and fuel consumed per bale, lower baling losses, better handling and transport, and lower storage losses. Several of these sound familiars to those of you who have heard us talk of the advantages of a self-fed supplement. The sales positioning of net wrap is also very similar to CRYSTALYX®. While the initial investment is often perceived as more cost per unit (per pound of crude protein or per bale), when you add up all the advantages you often come out far ahead of an option that is often thought to be much cheaper. 

If you are not using CRYSTALYX®, these could be innovations on your ranch:

The advantages of a self-fed supplement like CRYSTALYX® include:

  1. Reduced labor necessary to supplement cattle, every day.
  2. Reduced time necessary to supplement cattle, every day.
  3. Reduced equipment investment and associated maintenance costs needed to supplement cattle, every day.
  4. Reduced supplement waste
  5. Reduced interruption of cattle grazing time*

* Stay tuned, I may cover this in a future Blog

Delivery innovations

CRYSTALYX® has the added advantage in the last 11 years of having a biodegradable container option; the BioBarrel®. The BioBarrel® will further reduce your time and fuel inputs by eliminating the need to retrieve empty steel barrels or plastic tubs. More and more cattlemen feel the cost of the BioBarrel® out-weighs the time and labor necessary to retrieve empty containers from pastures. Additionally, many cattlemen feel better about using a renewable, biodegradable container versus continually throwing more plastic tubs in a landfill. 

Another, perhaps surprising, advantage of using BioBarrels® is often mentioned by customers. This is the ability of being able to tell how much CRYSTALYX® supplement is left in the BioBarrel® from a distance. Since the BioBarrel® degrades along with the level of CRYSTALYX® as it is consumed, you can easily see how much CRYSTALYX® is left without having to be close enough to look inside the container. Initially I thought this advantage was rather trivial, and perhaps even lazy, but based on how many customers reference it I feel it is well worth mentioning here as an innovative advantage. More than one customer has stated using binoculars to save even more time.

Nutritional innovations

Most recently, CRYSTALYX® has offered a completely new line of supplements called CRYSTALYX® Blueprint®. These new Blueprint® supplements provide trace minerals only in the form of Bioplex® organic trace minerals. Bioplex® organic trace minerals are more available than inorganic trace minerals like sulfates, oxides and chlorides. 

Bioplex® organic trace minerals also are a more effective means of providing trace mineral supplementation if you have trace mineral antagonists.  Some common trace mineral antagonists are high levels of iron or molybdenum in your soils and forages or high levels of sulfates in your water.

Evaluate innovations

Just look at your tractor, your baler, your planter and especially your beef cattle supplement. Have they changed in the last 10 -20 years? If they haven’t, you’re probably missing out on some recent innovations that can save significant dollars on your operating costs and/or increase your productivity.

CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements are available to your herd 24/7 and are an excellent way to supply vitamins, minerals, fly control and increase the utilization of your forage. All of this with minimal input of time, labor, equipment and delivery cost. When all costs are considered, CRYSTALYX® and the BioBarrel® will often give you the lowest cost per head per day with optimal results and greater profitability from your herd.