The Braunvieh may be one of the newer breeds gaining popularity in the U.S., but the breed (originally from Switzerland) may be considered one of the oldest of cattle in the world. In the latter half of the 1800’s, Bruaniveh were imported to the U.S. and were the basis for the development of the American Brown Swiss breed (a dairy breed ). The word “Braunvieh” is a German word that translates to English as “Brown Cow.” Today Braunvieh beef cattle are known as a well balanced breed with good body composition, carcass traits, and adaptable to many environments.
CRYSTALYX® and the Pella Farms' Story
Original Swiss Braunvieh were imported by Dave Doeschot’s cousin, Harlan in 1983. “Passion” for the Beef Industry is a good term to describe how Dave Doeschot operates his purebred Braunvieh business, as he is very customer oriented in selling breeding stock and an active member in the Braunvieh Association of America and Nebraska Cattlemen.
Braunvieh cattle are typically high milk producers and one goal to achieve is reproductive efficiency, especially in 2 and 3 year old animals. The Doeschot operation has recently achieved a goal of tightening the calving season and consolidating a spring and fall calving herd into a spring only calving herd. CRYSTALYX® Breed Up-20® supplement was first used in late winter through breeding in 2008 on 20 head heifers bred via artificial insemination. Dave commented that with this number of heifers, typically 12 of 20 heifers would normally be successfully bred. After using CRYSTALYX® Breed-UP 20®, the A.I. breeding success increased to 16 of 20 head. Dave contributes much of this improvement to the supplement program. “I’ve tried a lot of other block supplements in the past but CRYSTALYX® has provided the best consistency, performance, and consumption satisfaction of any. The Breed-UP 20® was consumed free-choice consistently at 3/4lb per cow daily. Improved breeding success, especially in intensive breeding programs such as AI and embryo transfer programs has been witnessed by many producers across the U.S. and Canada using various CRYSTALYX® programs. Products such as Breed-UP 20® do provide organic trace minerals.
Accuracy of Nutrient Delivery
The feeding Characteristics and performance of CRYSTALYX® has been researched extensively, and one goal of this research is to help producers make sound supplement decisions. Doeschot realized this value when first deciding to use CRYSTALYX®. “One factor that helped convince me was your research from Montana that demonstrates 95-97% of cattle consume CRYSTALYX® like it should be versus 55% consuming other mineral supplements. This was the hook that helped me realize this product would be an excellent way to deliver the trace minerals important for reproduction.”
“Filling the Cracks”
CRYSTALYX® supplements are used by beef cattle producers for a variety of reasons. Another benefit Doeschot sees is that it serves as a way to complement homegrown feedstuffs. Pella Farms Inc., feeds a variety of forages ranging from alfalfa, sorghum silage, cornstalk grazing, etc.. “We prefer to maximize the use of our homegrown feeds and CRYSTALYX® helps fill the cracks that my homegrown forages don’t always meet. CRYSTALYX® BGF-30™ is also used in many small pastures being grazed late in the season and with cornstalk grazing. “In the fall and winter, it often times becomes troublesome to maintain cow body condition, however Braunvieh cattle do respond well to a little help from feed,” says Dave. “CRYSTALYX® can be used to help maintain cow Body Condition on these feeds. It’s better and more economical to maintain that condition on a cow than to have to catch up with more feed later in the winter.