On the Blog

Set up for success at calving and beyond: CRYSTALYX and Bio-Mos 2

At CRYSTALYX®, we often write about the many benefits seen from supplementing livestock with the many nutritional technologies provided by Alltech, our parent company. Some past blogs include topics regarding Blueprint®, Bio-Mos®, Actigen® and Bio-Mos® 2. About a year ago, we made some name and formulation changes where any CRYSTALYX product that contained Bio-Mos now contains the next generation product, Bio-Mos 2. If you’ve used the original Bio-Mos in the past, you can expect the same or better performance with Bio-Mos 2, as it’s a more refined version of Bio-Mos and works more efficiently to promote gut health. Bio-Mos® 2 is often recommended in cow-calf programs to be fed about six weeks (more or less) pre- and post-calving. We’ve known for a long time that feeding this yeast-derived supplement from Alltech can improve overall gut health. 

So, what does good gut health really mean for a cow? 

In this context, good gut health really means that we are working to establish and maintain a healthy microbial population within the gut. A healthy microbial population works to lessen the growth of pathogenic bacteria, which can help promote a cleaner environment. Natural shedding of bacteria by the cow through manure is normal, but with better gut health, there are less harmful bacteria to pose a risk to calf health in the form of scours, pneumonia and poor immunity. Research using Bio-Mos 2 has shown that with a healthier gut normally comes better nutrient absorption by the cow. More efficient nutrient absorption can improve overall performance, and prior to calving, it can help stimulate immunity and lead to better colostrum production in the cow and higher quality colostrum with more antibody concentration. This was shown in an Alltech research study at Oklahoma State University where immunoglobulin concentration in colostrum was higher for cows supplemented with Bio-Mos 30 days pre-and-post-calving compared to non-supplemented cows. Similar research in Kentucky found that dairy calves from cows fed Bio-Mos showed improved titer response to rotavirus, suggesting better immune transfer.

Timing is everything

Newborn calves need colostrum to receive passive immunity (antibodies) from the cow. These antibodies help protect the calf from the health risks mentioned above until the active immune system becomes more developed after about three weeks of age. It is vitally important that the calf ingests adequate amounts of good colostrum in the first hours of life; these are likely the most crucial hours of the calf’s lifetime. Calves that get off to a good start from an immune standpoint will outperform and be more efficient than calves that get off to a poor start.

So how does CRYSTALYX fit in?

CRYSTALYX first started using Bio-Mos in a few select formulas around 2007. We had a good customer in Nebraska at the time ask us to consider this as it made sense from a nutrient delivery system perspective. Any nutritive additive only works as well as it is consumed. Cows consume CRYSTALYX very readily and consistently every day. So, it only makes sense that if you are supplementing your herd with CRYSTALYX pre- and post-calving, why not use a formula that includes Bio-Mos 2 and receive that benefit as well.

Everything is high-priced these days, so what does it cost?

If you’re concerned about the rising cost of a lot of feedstuffs at current, you’re not alone. We’ve seen commodity prices, such as soybean meal, corn and others, rise significantly since last fall. Volatility is the norm these days. The good news is you can reduce cost risk by using CRYSTALYX as your main supplement. It’s simple cost/head/day math, and CRYSTALYX always wins against volatility because of its relatively low intake. For example, if a commodity such as dried distiller grains increases by $50 a ton and you’re feeding 2 pounds a day, that’s $1.50 per cow per month in added supplement cost. Suppose CRYSTALYX goes up to $50 a ton, its ads about 50 cents to the monthly cost of supplement — three times less. So, if you’re worried about the high price of commodities, CRYSTALYX is a good option for you.

Supplementing Bio-Mos 2 is an investment in good health for less than $5 per cow. Consider the value of newborn calves, preventing health issues and compromised performance, and Bio-Mos 2 is a very good investment. And it’s not just the calf that benefits: the Oklahoma State University research trial cited above also found that pregnant cows fed Bio-Mos maintained and had improved body condition throughout lactation and up to weaning. Maintaining body condition prior to and after calving is directly related to the postpartum interval, or more simply put, getting cows to breed back on time. Calving, breeding and weaning are the most critical times of the year for a cow and how well a cow is taken care of up to and during these events is highly correlated to performance and profitability.

With spring calving quickly approaching or in full swing, consider adding Bio-Mos 2 into your overall supplement program. Furthermore, you can deliver Bio-Mos 2 very effectively in more than 20 different CRYSTALYX formula options. Our CRYSTALYX supplement guide listing all our products illustrates which products are formulated with Bio-Mos 2. As always, with CRYSTALYX, performance is served.