The Drought of the Central Dakotas is spreading to Nebraska and Eastern Montana. The change from an El Nino to a La Nina, can mean that much of the rest of the summer could be very dry in the Western and Plains States. Drier days are also likely ahead of us in the Corn Belt.
We have known for years that cattle will seek out palatable supplements, and even salt, in pastures. Research conducted by Dr. Derek Bailey at Havre, MT, 20 years ago, has quantified this effect. In doing so, we have seen that low-moisture block (LMB) supplements, like CRYSTALYX®, are much more effective than salt alone, at luring cattle to underutilized areas of pastures.
Research conducted at Kansas State University, also about 20 years ago, quantified the impact of CRYSTALYX® on low quality forages. Both intake and digestibility of low quality forages were increased.
Two Main Points To Remember:
During periods of drought (or when grasses naturally mature) CRYSTALYX® supplements can offer you two distinct advantages:
- CRYSTALYX® can increase the digestibility (energy release) of a low quality (drought stricken) forage. Some would call this stretching you forage. Two trials at KSU, conducted in the 1990’s, showed a 10% increase in dry matter digestibility on low quality (6% CP) forage.
- CRYSTALYX® will lure your cattle to the underutilized (forage) areas of a pasture, where they may not normally travel due to a potential lack of water, less desirable forages or rougher more vertical terrain. Several trials at MSU have shown the use of CRYSTALYX® in underutilized pastures will increase forage utilization by 15% every 2 weeks. This is within a 600 yard radius (233 acres) of the supplement.
Are Your Pastures Short On Drinking Water ?
During periods of drought, naturally occurring sources of water may dry up. This can leave many pastures with areas that cattle avoid, due to lack of water. Research has shown cattle will travel over a mile from a water source, to consume CRYSTALYX®. While the cattle are there, they will also graze the adjacent forage.
The One-Two Punch
CRYSTALYX® will draw your cattle to underutilized areas of the pasture, and once there, the added protein in the CRYSTALYX® supplements allow the cattle to unlock even more energy from the forage they consume. This one-two punch helps your cattle maximize the forage that is out there in a drought. It may not keep you from having to purchase hay, but it may decrease that purchase.
What If You Do Purchase Hay ?
If you do have to purchase hay, do not forget to also use CRYSTALYX® supplements to stretch that forage resource as well. If you can increase forage digestibility by 10%, remember that 10% of $200 hay is always more than 10% of $100 hay. Don’t let yourself fall in to the idea that “my hay cost too much to also purchase a supplement.” If your hay costs more, the return from better utilization also increases.
CRYSTALYX® Brand self-fed supplements are an excellent way to maximize your returns from a supplement program that’s available 24/7, while minimizing your investment in time, labor and equipment.