The Jim Graves family has been ranching in Wyoming since 1948. The ranch is a commercial Hereford cow-calf yearling operation and markets cattle through the Certified Hereford Beef Program. Over the years they have lived with the realities that go along with the ranching business including drought, cattle price cycles, and changing trends.
This commercial Hereford operation has put CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements to work during the last four years and for the right reasons.
Prior to using CRYSTALYX® Graves used a competing low moisture block during one season but were not satisfied. They were then introduced to the CRYSTALYX® program by their local Hubbard Feeds dealer, Western Cooperative, in Torrington, WY.
"We've been very satisfied," says Jim. "Consumption, cost and performance is where it needs to be and the past winter was proof. Our program consists of winter grazing and there was a lot of snow this past season; at one point it was tough to even get to the cows for nearly a month. The cows had winter range and CRYSTALYX® HE-20%™ barrels, and after that 30-day stretch we were very pleased with the condition of the cows."
What to Expect from a Supplement
A supplement should be used to add value to a feeding program, not just expense. CRYSTALYX® value includes making the most use of forage, while reducing labor and feeding costs. Graves agrees and sees this value.
"We want to let cattle graze the grass versus cutting it for hay. It's not much different than what our ancestors were doing, but the forage does need a little help, and that's where the barrels come in. For over 40 years on our existing ranch we've tried a lot of things from range cake, to ear corn, to alfalfa hay. With these other supplements, cows would come running when they saw a pickup; with CRYSTALYX® the cows are more calm and content. It's probably the best supplement we've used in 40 plus years of ranching."
Cost Savings and Value
Supplement cost control is important, but the value of such programs can be overlooked by simply choosing the "cheapest" program. CRYSTALYX® can help with cost control and piece of mind.
"Our supplement cost is about $30-$35 per cow per season, says Graves. "We like the convenience, the time savings, using less equipment, and the way the cows perform. It's easier than having to go feed everyday, especially when you have to fight the weather. This business is about cows keeping us, not us keeping the cows."