On the Blog

CRYSTALYX Brigade: Don’t wean calves without it

Over the past few years of blogging on www.crystalyx.com, several articles have been written about using CRYSTALYX® in calf weaning and receiving systems.   I’ve been involved in marketing CRYSTALYX® for over 15 years and would honestly say that utilizing it in a weaning/receiving situation is the most visible and expedient way to experience the value in this supplement.  The practice of using Brigade® in weaning and receiving programs is well accepted, even automatic with many producers.  And folks selling CRYSTALYX® should make Brigade® a part of their nutritional offering. 

We at Crystalyx®, have several research trials and dozens of testimonies that cite the health, performance, and economic benefits of using Brigade® with stressed cattle.  Still, there are doubters to how this product works.  I think the reason for some doubt stems from only looking at the nutrition or the nutrient specs of what is being offered in ¼ lb. of Brigade®.  Some may say, “I’ve got that in the ration anyhow, why do I need the barrel?” or “We are not doing our job as managers or nutritionists if we need to place a self-fed supplement in the program.”

“Cattle that don’t eat get sick, and sick cattle don’t eat” Mark Chaboyer, CRYSTALYX® dealer, Cutbank, MT

We’ve shown that the formulation of Brigade® makes a difference vs. other formulations but another key benefit to Brigade® is as a behavior and management tool.  Having Brigade® available to stressed animals will actually give them a palatable and nutrient dense supplement, that when readily consumed, will help enhance appetite.  Getting weaned and newly received cattle to eat is tantamount to a successful transition.  It doesn’t matter how well formulated a receiving or weaning diet is, if cattle won’t eat it, it’s as good as not even being in the bunk.   Our success with CRYSTALYX® dairy supplements is much the same.  We can improve herd health by providing a supplement that can help promote Dry Matter intake.

The Brigade® Program

Brigade® is very economical.   It can be fed for less than $5.00/calf which is much less than the treatment cost of a sick calf, and not to mention the opportunity cost in poorer performance from calves that have been treated.  Past blogs cite our studies where we reported improvement in average daily gain (by as much as 0.4 lbs. per day), sickness reduction by 50% or more in newly received calves, and less death loss.  The Brigade® Program is simple and typically lasts for only 30 days.

For the Producer

  • Place Barrels, 1 per 25-40 head with the weaned or received animals at the same time cattle are assigned to their pens, etc.  Calves will normally begin licking on barrels quickly.  Calves that have been previously exposed to CRYSTALYX® will begin consuming right away.
  • Place barrels in a line out from the edges of pens or in easy accessible areas.
  • Provide Brigade® barrels for approx. 30 days.  Longer feeding periods can also be used depending on the overall nutrition program but the high risk period for weaned calves is usually over by 30 days.  Typical intake on 500-600 lb. calves is 4 ounces per head per day.  One 250 lb. barrel supplements 30 calves for 33 days.

For the Dealer

  • Make Brigade® part of your weaning and receiving programs.
  • “Never Run out of Brigade®!”Bill Prinz, Hubbard Account Manager Lincoln, NE.  Many producers won’t wean without, so when your customer needs it, have it available.