The majority of the research that Ridley Block Operations has conducted on modifying grazing distribution with CRYSTALYX® has occurred in the Fall. However, there are good examples of customers using CRYSTALYX® in the Summer, to modify grazing distribution.
A western South Dakota CRYSTALYX® dealer had a group of ranchers as customers that were part of a grazing association. They were running their co-mingled cattle on national grasslands. A dry mineral supplier approached the ranchers with a proposal. They were told they could supplement with dry mineral at a cost of no more than 8 cents per-head, per-day (in today’s dollars). The supplier would put out two weeks of mineral and only re-supply every two weeks. The ranchers quickly realized that a limit on how much mineral was delivered could be a problem. If the supply is consumed in a week, the cattle would be without mineral for another week until it was restocked.
The CRYSTALYX® dealer had a better idea. Because of his own experience with CRYSTAL-PHOS,® he recommended it to the grazing association. Past experience in his area projected CRYSTAL-PHOS® intake to be around two ounces per-head, per-day on green Summer grass.
CRYSTAL-PHOS® is formulated for an intake of a quarter pound in fall and winter when forage is dry and brown and the cattle need more nutrients. In the summertime, when forage is lush, you’ll likely see about an eighth of a pound, or a two ounce intake. In the summer, when the grass gets green and things get warmer, it’s difficult to keep the animals on any mineral supplement. You will generally see a lower intake of CRYSTAL-PHOS® in the summer, but cattle still consume it at acceptable levels.
The dealer told the grazing association they could have a summer supplementation program using CRYSTAL-PHOS® at a cost of approximately 8 cents per-head, per-day. Better still, the supplement would be continuously available, and placement of the barrels could be used to better manage grazing patterns. CRYSTALYX® supplements have been shown to attract cattle to underutilized areas within a pasture.
The demonstration tracked 1,308 head of cattle in three different pastures during a period from June through August. Using a CRYSTAL-PHOS® cost of $1,350 per ton, the average cost across all pastures and all cattle was 7.6 cents per-head, per-day, and the average consumption was 1.8 ounces per-head, per-day.
The US Forest Service that ovesees the National Grasslands evidently also agreed that the CRYSTAL-PHOS® impacted grazing distribution. When Ranchers asked (at the end of the grazing season), if they could go back to one pasture that was only lightly grazed earlier in the summer, the reply from the Forest Service was, “If you put out CRYSTAL-PHOS® barrels, you can.”
CRYSTALYX® supplements provide needed nutrition with minimal equipment and labor costs, while also helping to harvest underutilized grass in your pastures. That is a win, win, win situation!