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What affects self-fed intake with CRYSTALYX?

Self-fed intake guidelines for CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements can be made under the general categories of protein supplement formulations or mineral supplement formulations.  However, within those two categories, you can see additional factors that impact consumption outlined below.

For mature beef cattle (1,200 – 1,300 pounds), most CRYSTALYX® protein supplements will have a typical intake of 0.7 to 0.8 pounds per head per day (lb./hd/d). For a CRYSTALYX® mineral formula, these same cattle may consume only 0.15 to 0.50 lb./hd/d.  

With any group of animals consuming self-fed supplements, you will see these factors affect the typical intakes from above:

  • Larger animals will typically have higher intakes and smaller, or younger animals will nearly always have lower intakes. 
  • Product formulations containing significant levels of magnesium, calcium or phosphorus often result in lower intakes compared to formulations with lower levels of those minerals.
  • If you stock 20 animals per container, you will have a relatively higher intake per animal than if you stock 30 animals per container. 
  • If forage becomes less available, intake will increase accordingly.
  • The presence of other supplements in pastures at the same time will generally result in lower CRYSTALYX® consumption.
  • Location of supplements in relation to water, shade, wind and loafing areas can either increase or decrease consumption depending upon environmental conditions and the time animals spend near the supplement.
  • Animals that have not been on a mineral or protein supplement may consume up to twice the normal amount of supplement for a 7 to 10 day introductory period.
  • Animal nutrient requirements change with their stage of production.  As nutrient requirements go up, animals will try to increase consumption of all self-fed feedstuffs (supplements, forages & grains).

We have much data with CRYSTALYX® BRIGADE® in weaned calves.  These 500 to 600+ pound calves will generally consume 0.25 lb./dh/d in a drylot.  Mature animals will generally consume around 0.75 lb./hd/d of BRIGADE®.  While the increase in consumption is not linear with the increase in weight, it does give an idea of the change in consumption due to increasing weight and age.  Weaned calves on BRIGADE® in a pasture would likely consume slightly less than 0.25 lb./dh/d.

In a previous Blog, I talked about some data from Western South Dakota where mature cow-calf pairs were on CRYSTALYX® CRYSTAL-PHOS® mineral supplement.  The time period was from June to August, and the grass was fairly green during this time.  Research data we have over several years on CRYSTAL-PHOS®, when fed during the fall and winter, indicate that intake is quite predictable at four oz./hd/d.  However, on the lush Summer grass, intake has been measured at half that, or about 2 oz./hd/d.  As the grass dries out and or matures, intake of the CRYSTAL-PHOS® will increase.

These are just two actual examples of how the animal and its environment will both impact the self-fed intake of a supplement.  While the formula of the supplement itself will impact self-fed intake, there are many more factors (some listed above) with the animal and its environment, that can also impact self-fed intake of a supplement.   Some of the animal and environmental factors can change in a matter days.

As a reminder, many CRYSTALYX® supplements do not contain added salt.  Salt should be fed free-choice with CRYSTALYX® supplements that do not contain salt.