On the Blog

Drought affects more than you can see

With a long, snow covered winter and a rainy spring, many producers can be optimistic when thinking about forage quality and availability this grazing season. Reviewing the drought monitor, things are improving, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The effects of long-term drought are not limited to forage and water quality.

We all know that forage quality and quantity suffer in drought conditions. If hay is available, it’s going to be drought stressed too (low protein and trace mineral levels). These situations combine to result in a lowered plain of nutrition for your cattle. The outward signs of this will be weight and condition losses. However, this can also mean a loss of cow productivity.

Several university studies have shown that cow productivity drops during and following a drought. A New Mexico study showed that weaning weights and calving percentage were reduced as a result of a drought. A study from Arizona showed that the conception rates in 3 year-old cows was 20% lower in a drought year than a normal year. The same study also showed that supplementing during a drought raised conception rates. A second New Mexico study also showed lower calf weights (branding and weaning) and a longer calving interval in a drought year. These cattle also showed improved cow productivity and a shorter calving interval when supplemented.

Drought stressed forages need supplementing to help keep your cows working for you. CRYSTALYX® has a barrel for that. The Breed-Up® line of supplements provide the protein, minerals (copper, zinc, selenium, phosphorus) and vitamins critical to your herds’ reproductive efficiency. The addition of chelated/organic trace minerals ensures availability of trace minerals in situations where antagonists are high. The supplemental protein aids in dry matter digestion and helps your cattle make the most of a tough situation.

CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements has additional tools to keep your cows on track. The body condition score app (available for iPhone and Android platforms) puts your cow records in your hand, easily accessible at any time. Crystal Clear Economyx® allows you to track your costs and compare supplement forms against each other on one page. The Supplement Scheduler takes the guess work out of keeping barrels in front of your cows. Set up pastures, cow numbers and the exact barrel you use and receive a reminder via e-mail to put out more barrels. 

To learn more about the producer tools available visit our website at www.crystalyx.com and select Producer Tools from the How It Works drop down above. To learn more about the Breed-Up® product line, see your local CRYSTALYX® dealer or visit our website at www.crystalyx.com and select Breeding/Calving from the By Condition/Situation drop down above.  You will surely find an application to help manage your herd and overall nutrition program.