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Feeding this year's hay crop

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The below excerpt was taken from a recent CRYSTALYX Blog with Nutritionist; Mark Robbins.

Feeding this year's hay crop: How rain can effect hay quality

Many of us have enjoyed one of the rainiest summers in recent memory. Hay and forage production were plentiful in many regions. While the quality of this hay may not always be the best due to frequent rains (more on this later), the yield is there.

The recent National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) acreage report projects U.S. hay harvested acreage at 52.8 million acres in 2019. This is down only slightly from the 2018 harvested acreage but is the lowest harvested acreage since 1908. Prices for hay continue to rise on limited supply combined with strong domestic and export demand, with NASS reporting $152 per ton for hay (excluding alfalfa) and $204 per ton for alfalfa in May. These are the highest monthly prices since 2014 for both types.

CLICK HERE to read the full article

Hay cost woes

I often hear cattlemen say, “With the cost of hay so high, I cannot afford to also buy a (protein) supplement.” If a supplement makes sense in your operation with lower-priced forage, it will only make more “cents” with higher-priced forage.

Providing supplemental crude protein when feeding cattle lower-quality forages will boost digestibility (i.e., the release of energy). It is not uncommon for supplemental crude protein to increase the digestibility of a low-quality forage by 10%.

When we buy a supplement, most of us want to know what sort of return on investment it will provide. Supplements replace nutrients that are either missing or are only available in lower-than-desired quantities in the base diet/forage. Supplements can also provide performance-enhancing additives that are not available naturally; protein, macro and trace minerals, and vitamins are usually at the top of the list.

Healthy calves pay the bills

CRYSTALYX Brigade® and Blueprint® Battalion® help calves overcome stress and get started on feed faster. Consider starting to feed CRYSTALYX to cows and calves a few weeks prior to weaning; doing so can help the calf get into better shape prior to the stressful event soon to occur. Vaccines and respiratory disease treatments work much better if the calf has been on a good trace mineral and vitamin program prior to weaning. Once weaned, continue to feed CRYSTALYX Brigade® and Blueprint® Battalion® to calves for a minimum of four weeks.

Help calves overcome nutritional stress with:

Blueprint is a premium nutritional program that incorporates BIOPLEX® organic trace minerals, which are better absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal. Learn more at