In the Field

"Flexibility isn't optional; it's pretty much mandatory up here."

When the Milk River-St. Mary's irrigation canal shut off for flume repairs, two weeks early in September of 2007, Rick Weekes and the TT Ranch cows that were nursing bull & steer calves, once again got the opportunity for flexibility practice. For the past two grazing seasons, the TT Ranch had weaned these bull and steer calves at their normal time. The cows were then sent back out to "hunt the CRYSTALYX® barrel" for several more weeks in that same summer pasture. After those several weeks on CRYSTALYX® without the calves, the cows were moved into the winter grazing system.

That early canal shut off left the South Canal pasture of the TT Ranch without any stockwater, other than the "too small of pools" in the bottom of the canal. Rick and his crew elected to wean these calves early and haul the calves to the TT Headquarters. From there the crew moved the cows onto a new pasture that had plenty of native grass, which had been stockpiled by a complete summer's growth. The pasture had been underutilized for many years by prior management and Rick's primary concern was "getting the cows to eat down through all that dead grass and give some new grass a fresh start in the next season."

Rick consulted with his local CRYSTALYX® dealer, BTI Feeds, Cut Bank, Montana about a "stand alone" CRYSTALYX® product that might get that old grass grazed off and give some new grass, a fresh start for the next year.

"The cost of the covered mineral feeders and the need to fill them every three days in this windy country, just looked like a place the TT Ranch could cut some costs," Rick said.

The BTI Feeds team recommended a new CRYSTALYX® product in the new CRYSTALYX® BioBarrel® container, Breed Up® 20 with the Zin-Pro Performance Mineral package. It answered the challenge that the TT Ranch had identified for accurate nutrient delivery of the needed protein, vitamins and trace minerals in a "stand alone" CRYSTALYX® product. "With the Northern Montana fall and winter grazing conditions, I needed something out there that was on the job with the cows all the time," Rick said. "We can get snowed up pretty easy for at least a week at a time."

According to Rick, Breed-Up® 20 in the CRYSTALYX® BioBarrel® brought a great new value to the TT Ranch with the Single Trip Container feature. "One trip every three weeks in this kind of county, into some of those places where that rank grass is, sure is plenty of wear and tear on our pickups. Sure wouldn't want to go every three days like with those covered dry mineral feeders. The crew darn sure doesn't want any more fences to fix either and this CRYSTALYX® gets all those cows up high to the barrel pretty evenly & every day.

"This sure looks like one of those 'headache times' that brought a better system to the TT Ranch. The flexibility of the CRYSTALYX® Breed-Up® 20 with the BioBarrel® container will be a keeper up here on the TT Ranch."