Ridley launched the Blueprint® concept of supplements and feeds just over four years ago. Today, this concept is still unrivaled in the feed industry for providing the latest advancements in trace mineral nutrition. Let us look at the essence of CRYSTALYX® Blueprint® and what makes it stand out above the rest.
How is Blueprint different?
Blueprint is targeted nutrition, without excess, for peak performance.
This supplementation program is for results-oriented producers feeding animals at any stage of life. It provides targeted nutrient levels identified through university research and then substantiated in large ranch demonstrations. Animals can now reach peak performance by avoiding the unintended consequences of over-supplementation with inorganic trace minerals.
The simplest description of Blueprint is the total replacement of inorganic trace minerals with Bioplex® organic trace minerals. While other Alltech technologies are also included in every Blueprint formula, Bioplex is the foundation. Many of us feel that the removal of inorganic trace mineral forms impacts animal performance just as much as the inclusion of only Bioplex organic trace minerals.
So, how is this new?
Some may point out that making a supplement with 100% organic trace minerals is not new, and this is true. But, what is new and different about Blueprint is that the levels of those trace minerals are about two-thirds of National Research Council (NRC) recommendations. Previous supplements that contained only organic trace minerals were generally formulated at or above 100% of NRC recommendations. The relatively high bioavailability of Bioplex trace minerals allows us to supplement at a lower level while still improving animal performance over any level of inorganic trace mineral supplementation.
What about the higher cost of organic trace minerals?
Organic trace minerals have been around for more than 40 years. Part of their slow acceptance revolves around their increased cost compared to inorganic forms. While nutritionists understood the mode of action and, thus, the value of organic trace minerals, many “breeder” supplements used just 10–50% organic trace minerals as a way to minimize increased cost. The lower, yet more effective, level of fortification of Blueprint products allows them to be much more feasible than previous attempts at providing 100% organic trace mineral supplements.
What is the problem with excess?
Many of us grew up in a culture where, if a little is good, then a little more is surely better. Inorganic trace mineral fortification levels in the beef industry are a great example of this idea getting out of hand. For a typical four-ounce intake mineral, 1,000 ppm copper would be considered 100% of NRC recommendations for a cow consuming 25 pounds of dry matter. In an attempt to combat low copper levels in cattle, it is not uncommon to find inorganic trace mineral supplements listing 2,000–4,000 ppm copper or even higher. That would be 2X to 4X NRC. With that much copper sulfate — a known anti-microbial compound used in foot baths to control foot rot — going into the rumen of a cow, is it any wonder that research shows reduced rumen function with copper sulfate and an increase in energy released from the diet when cattle are fed only organic trace minerals? This is due to an overall increase in volatile fatty acid production, specifically butyrate, when using the Blueprint program.
Often, these ultra-high levels of trace minerals were an attempt to overcome the presence of trace mineral antagonists (iron, sulfate, molybdenum) in the soil, water or forage. Organic trace minerals have a different mode or route of absorption and are minimally affected by trace mineral antagonists. This is why the lower fortification levels in Blueprint supplements are effective.
What does Blueprint accomplish?
Early on in animal nutrition, trace minerals were supplemented to remove the outward or obvious signs of a trace mineral deficiency. As more research was performed, we began to realize that trace mineral deficiencies can hamper animal performance, even if there are no physical or apparent signs of that deficiency. We quickly moved from just correcting maladies and deficiencies to improving performance far above “average” through trace mineral supplementation. Blueprint is the pinnacle in accomplishing that goal.
Much of how Blueprint improves your bottom line is through increased reproductive performance, calf health and calf performance.
University research with nearly 2,000-head of cows showed the Blueprint program to increase the pregnancy rate from 92.6–95.3% — a 2.7% increase in a herd that already had a respectable conception rate. The ROI here was calculated at 3:1.
Several trials across the U.S. have shown about a 24-pound weaning weight advantage when herds are on the Blueprint program. The ROI here was calculated at 4.4:1.
Large ranch research with nearly 4,500-head of cows showed a 2.5% reduction in the pre-weaning calf mortality rate. The ROI here was calculated at 1.6:1.
Date of confirmed pregnancy:
University Research also documented improved fertility indicators in replacement heifers. Heifers on a Blueprint program reached puberty nine days earlier in year one and 41 days earlier in the second year. Similarly, those heifers were confirmed pregnant eight days earlier in year one and 18 days earlier in year two.
Some of these performance increases are additive, and some contribute to one another. To try and pull this all together, two large ranches calculated their combined ROI on all aspects of the Blueprint program over multiple years. They found ROIs of 4.9:1 and 7.1:1.
Look back 10, 20 or 30 years in your cattle enterprise. How much change have you seen in communications and marketing? How much change have you seen in your trucks, tractors, and harvesting equipment? They can drive themselves with a little help from rocket science. Improvements in genetics have certainly rivaled these man-made tools as well. Now, how much has your herd nutrition program changed in order to extract every penny from those invested dollars? CRYSTALYX Blueprint supplements are the latest advancement in trace mineral nutrition, designed to maximize the return on what you have invested in time, genetics and forage.