In the Field

"All the cattle eat it."

The Sunrise Ranch near Mandan, ND is a Hereford and Hereford X Angus beef cow-calf operation. Like any beef operation, grazing the maximum number of days a year and managing the forage resource is key and CRYSTALYX® supplements have become an integral part of the ranches management system. Tough weather conditions hit North Dakota often as North Dakota ranchers know all too well. “When winter allows,” says Terry, “We will winter graze as much as possible, and use CRYSTALYX®. If we are lucky, we can get to Christmas before having to feed hay. In North Dakota you have to be prepared and have a back up plan.”

In the late winter and early spring months of 2009, bad conditions hit North Dakota hard with snow lasting through the end of April. The Sunrise Ranch had used CRYSTALYX® off and on in prior years but begun using CRYSTALYX® Mineral-lyx® steadily prior to calving in 2009. Even with the tough weather conditions, and cows showing it, the breeding efficiency improved that year. Terry comments that their calving interval “tightened up” and some cows moved up nearly six weeks or two breeding cycles. “We were really convinced with CRYSTALYX® after the ‘09 spring.”

The ranch has now moved to using CRYSTALYX® Crystal-Phos® (another mineral product within the CRYSTALYX® line) and feeds it year round. The winter feed program is primarily an alfalfa and corn silage based ration, so Crystal-Phos® fits this program well. “It works for us well. Crystal-Phos® is better in the bad weather where dry mineral can get wet and cattle don’t eat it as well.” Says Terry. Jim Roshau, the Hubbard Feeds Sales Representative from Mandan who services the ranch, agrees and helped the Nelsons develop their program. “Crystal-Phos® is the best way to “force feed” a free-choice mineral if you want to think of it that way. It’s palatable; is consumed predictably at 2-4 ounces per day and all the cattle eat it. Economically it’s as cost effective as a comparable chelated loose mineral but easier to manage.” Says Roshau. Another addition to the CRYSTALYX® program now is the 200 lb BioBarrel® container. The BioBarrels are used nearly all the time except for when weather conditions may be extremely wet or muddy in the spring. The BioBarrel®, single trip biodegradable container, eliminates the need to pick up empties. Nelson’s said that they just simply didn’t like the time and expense of retrieving empty containers.