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It will soon be fall - a great time for CRYSTALYX

So far, 2019 has been an interesting year; the beef industry in the U.S. has endured blizzards, floods, drought, uncertain markets in both the grain and livestock sectors, unfair denouncements in the media about climate change, uncertainty over trade agreements, a fire at a major beef processing plant, politics and more. One rancher friend of mine told me recently that he just wants 2019 to be over. Well, there’s still around four months of the year left, and, hopefully, it will be a little quieter and more normal — if there is such a thing.

It’s now September. The kids are back in school, football and hunting seasons have begun, and fall harvest and weaning calves will soon be upon us, if not so already. Fall is also the best time of year to use CRYSTALYX®, as what you do now regarding cow nutrition will pay dividends into next year and beyond. Some observations and tips that come to mind for this fall are listed below.

RELATED: Feeding this year's hay crop: How rain can affect hay quality

Fall is a great time of year to be a cow

For a spring-calving herd, fall could be considered vacation time for a cow once her calf is weaned. This is the time of year when her nutrient requirements are at their lowest, and she doesn’t have much to do except to get ready for winter. If a cow needs to gain some extra weight, this is a good time to do so. A mature, healthy cow will gain weight in the fall when grazing an ample supply of low-quality forage supplemented with a CRYSTALYX protein supplement, such as BGF-20™ or BGF-30™. There is no better or more economical way to keep a cow than this.

Several blogs could be — and have been — written on the economics of CRYSTALYX. The positive economic benefits of CRYSTALYX go way beyond the simple cost of feeding, as these benefits extend to animal health, performance and management. Repeat buyers of CRYSTALYX don’t come back to this product because it’s the “cheapest tub” on the market; they use CRYSTALYX because it’s truly economical.

Healthy calves pay the bills 

CRYSTALYX Brigade® and Blueprint® Battalion® are two programs that are proven to have great success with weaning calves. These programs help calves overcome stress and help get cattle started on feed. Consider, however, starting to feed CRYSTALYX to cows and calves a few weeks prior to weaning; doing so can help the cows teach the calves how to consume CRYSTALYX, and it also helps the calf get into better shape prior to the stressful event soon to occur. In some situations, you may be able to add some additional weight prior to selling those calves right off the cow. Think of this as a “nutritional pre-conditioning program.” CrystalBlox™, our latest supplement form, can work great in these instances, too.

This year, more calves may be backgrounded on grass or, perhaps, will be weaned later. This could potentially be the result of the fact that a wet summer in a lot of cow-calf producing regions has left us with abundant forage supplies. Additionally, with the cattle market being volatile, there may be a delay in making marketing decisions, and more calves might be kept after weaning and backgrounded on pasture or in a feedlot to add relatively cheap gains. CRYSTALYX products, such as Iono-lyx® B300, fit very well in some of these programs and can improve gains in fall grazing programs for calves. For developing replacement heifers on grass, CRYSTALYX provides very effective nutrition in supporting moderate gains — and does so at a lower cost than hand-feeding commodities.  

RELATED: Iono-lyx for low cost replacement heifer development

Forage management

“Feed it and they will follow.” This was a tagline used several years ago to support using CRYSTALYX as a pasture management tool. We’ve written numerous blogs about using CRYSTALYX to effect grazing behavior and distribution. Again, fall is a great time to use this tool and to target areas of the pasture where you want to maximize or minimize grazing, which you can do by simply strategically placing CRYSTALYX in the pasture.

“We have some of the best-looking poor hay this year.” It may not be an exaggeration to say that, across a large area of the Midwest and the plains, most of the hay harvested did get rained on at least once prior to baling. Weather-damaged hay is not just lower in protein and energy but may also be at risk for varying levels of mycotoxin contamination due to excess molds and yeast.

Crops that have suffered from hail damage are also at risk of containing dangerous levels of mycotoxins and nitrate. We strongly advise testing any “at-risk forages” and encourage you to consider using a toxin-binding compound. Additionally, pasture grass grown under wet conditions may be lower in protein and energy (sugar levels) and would also benefit from supplementation, sooner rather than later.

Autumn falls between the two harshest seasons for cattle: summer and winter. Fall is also the time of year when the many CRYSTALYX application options make the most sense economically and for cattle nutrition and forage management. It’s never too early to supplement CRYSTALYX — just don’t let it get to be too late. Get a jump on the fall season and make sure your cows’ needs are being met going into winter.