Several CRYSTALYX® blogs have been topics surrounding “volatility” in our business and how it is more or less the norm these days. I think the weather we’ve had in the past couple of years could be summarized much the same. From floods to drought to extreme heat and cold and late spring blizzards, it reminds me of a common saying I here almost everywhere I travel, “we sure have had a weird ____ “ (fill in the blank and pick your season of year).
I guess its spring by the calendar and yes, we made it through winter – I think. For many cow-calf producers in the Northern U.S. it was a hard winter or it was a dry winter leaving many wondering about spring precipitation, grass for the 2013 growing season, crop markets and planting, etc… Thankfully there have been some moisture improvements which give hope. Just what would last fall and winter have been like without a good supplement strategy, and of course CRYSTALYX®?
Our customers purchased and fed a lot of barrels this past year, and it made good sense to do so. Record high forage cost and volatile commodity cost illustrated the best economics of an effective supplement program, and CRYSTALYX® penciled very well versus many other supplement types, forms and methods. Some of the so called “bargain” commodities really weren’t this past year or weren’t even available.
Feeding high quality forages to cows this past winter was either a luxury or not a good economic decision. Thus we utilized more poor hay (where it could be found), crop residue like corn stalk grazing, bales or feeding, drought stressed silages, etc… Still, the returns on any supplement program need to be justified. We nutritionist and feed specialist talk about this all the time. One thing maybe we ought to think of more is just what we would give up or put at risk without a good supplement program? With this in mind, what would have the past fall and winter looked like without CRYSTALYX®, or more importantly what would our cows look like now without it?
What’s the monetary value of CRYSTALYX®? What is its benefits worth?
It may be hard to put one hard figure on the value of any supplement program but listed below are some values applied to some of the efficiencies gained:
- A 10% or better hay savings or forage utilization could be realized by feeding CRYSTALYX® versus not. If hay is $200 per ton and you’re feeding 25-30 lbs. per cow per day, a 10% improvement in forage utilization could be worth $35.00 or more per cow in a winter feeding season.
- Better Grazing Distribution can extend the number of days on pasture by as much as 2 weeks. The cost of grazing varies greatly by locale but considering pasture rates from $150-$300 per season, two weeks is worth $14-$28 per cow.
- CRYSTALYX® eliminates a great deal of labor and equipment cost associated with supplementation. Again values may vary but by evaluation using the Crystal Clear Economyx® program, CRYSTALYX® would have a 10 cent advantage per cow per day versus hand fed supplements. This equates to $15.00 per cow over a 150 day season.
By not supplementing at all, we may be saving on inputs but we put to risk many health and performance benefits. These may be considered opportunity cost but the cost of a missed breeding cycle due to poor reproductive performance could be $60.00+ at today’s market and what do sick, and poor doing calves cost??
The cost to feed CRYSTALYX® for 150 days is approximately $56.00 (more or less depending on formulation chosen and typical intakes). It is a cost but it does pay. Nobody likes to write the check but by doing it we can eliminate some of the cost factors above or gain some of the efficiencies above. With today’s costs and the price of calves, it doesn’t take a lot to make a CRYSTALYX® program pay. CRYSTALYX® has weathered the volatility we face very well. Thus perhaps one of the reasons it’s worked so well. I’d argue (as I have in past writings) that it brings more value to our industry now than ever.
Be assured that CRYSTALYX® was a good supplement decision last season and likely will be going forward. Thank you, cattle producers for your business and the opportunity to serve you. Our success depends upon yours as we are all in this together. Here’s to good weather, green grass and success this summer!