On the Blog

The move from Breed-Up® to Blueprint®

We are over 20 years into the 21st century. Time flies, and we see change every year. I still vividly recall the Y2K scare that was circulating in 1999, and here it is, 23 years later. For the most part, Y2K did not create the catastrophe that some thought it might. In hindsight, it seems crazy that the computer industry would only use two digits for a year and not all four. We won’t make that mistake again. Ten or twenty years from now, there will certainly be things that are common practice today, about which we will ask ourselves, “what were we thinking back then?” 

The only thing that is constant, is change

Change is constant but change in beef nutrition has probably not had the exciting advancements we have seen in precision agriculture, smartphones, electric vehicles, crop varieties, animal genetics and pesticides. However, one area in beef nutrition that has seen substantial improvements in the last five years is trace mineral nutrition. Specifically, our Blueprint® Targeted Nutrition Program, which replaces all inorganic trace minerals with lower levels of the highly bioavailable Bioplex® organic trace minerals (some people call organic trace minerals “chelated” trace minerals). This total replacement of inorganic trace minerals with the organic forms that are closer to what is found in nature, is not really new, but its widespread use in an entire line of feeds and supplements like Blueprint®, certainly is. 

What were we thinking?

These organic or chelated trace minerals are how you would find trace minerals (e.g., copper, zinc) in the natural diets (grasses and other forages) of ruminants. Supplementing a cow’s diet with zinc sulfate and copper sulfate is not what her digestive system was really designed for. Sure, it has worked for years, and it is better than nothing, but today, there is a much better option, and that is, 100% organic trace minerals, such as Bioplex®

When using zinc sulfate and copper sulfate, all we really wanted to supplement was zinc and copper, but we also brought along some sulfate, which contributes to oxidative stress in animals. Data from Pino and Heinrichs (J. Dairy Sci. 99:1-14, 2015) showed that heifers fed a diet using 100% Bioplex trace minerals had more energy released from their diet, than heifers on a more typical inorganic trace mineral diet. Heifers fed a diet with 100% Bioplex trace minerals also had a lower rumen pH and more volatile fatty acid production, primarily butyrate. Sulfates are known to tie up (make them unavailable) inorganic trace minerals. It seems a bit crazy that we would actually feed them to healthy animals, doesn’t it? Well, with Blueprint, we have stopped all that. No more sulfates, oxides, or chlorides. We use only organic trace minerals, at a much lower level than the NRC has calculated for inorganic trace minerals. Perhaps, 10 years from now, we will all look back at inorganic trace minerals and say, “What were we thinking?”

CRYSTALYX® currently has four levels of fortification

For our top level of fortification in the CRYSTALYX line-up, we have a choice between the older Premium, or Breed-Up, supplements and the new Blueprint supplements. 



The CRYSTALYX Breed-Up supplements were introduced in 2007. At that time, we felt they were the best way we could get more copper, zinc, and other key trace minerals into a beef animal. They worked quite well compared to older technology, but we did not really consider the impact of what those higher levels of inorganic trace mineral levels might have on animal performance. Today, we know most of the response we saw from the Breed-Up supplements was likely from the 25% of the trace minerals that were organic.  We also know that the 75% that are inorganic contribute to oxidative stress and may inhibit rumen bacteria. 

Just as we asked you in 2007 to move to the Breed-Up supplements as a step up in performance over our HE™ and BGF™ line of supplements, we are now asking you to move from the Breed-Up supplements to the Blueprint supplements.

CRYSTALYX Blueprint supplements give you all the advantages of the organic trace minerals without the negatives of the inorganic trace minerals.  Blueprint is a better supplement than Breed-Up.

  1. CRYSTALYX Blueprint supplements are a better value as they cost less than the Breed-Up supplements.
  2. CRYSTALYX Blueprint supplements supply all the trace minerals in a form (organic) that the animal more readily absorbs. They are more instep with nature.
  3. CRYSTALYX Blueprint supplements are better for the environment, as they do not over supplement inorganic trace minerals. Help us build a Planet of Plenty™.
  4. Inorganic trace minerals cause degradation of vitamins and enzymes in feeds. Lower vitamin levels are possible with Blueprint supplements, as organic trace minerals have much less impact on vitamins in storage.

CRYSTALYX Blueprint supplements are the next step in the advancement of self-fed nutrition. They are founded on the belief that the form in which nutrients are delivered is just as important, perhaps more important, than the level of supplementation.

CRYSTALYX moves to three levels of fortification

Beginning in June, CRYSTALYX supplements will have three levels of fortification: Economy, Balanced and Blueprint.  Simpler is better, and Blueprint gives you more from less.



Join us as we move into the future of trace mineral nutrition in the beef industry.

CRYSTALYX Blueprint supplements are for results-oriented producers feeding animals at any stage of life. They provide targeted trace mineral levels identified through university research and substantiated in large ranch demonstrations. Animals can now reach peak performance by avoiding the unintended consequences of over-supplementation with inorganic trace minerals.