Having "Balance" in cattle performance and genetics is one major goal for the Schroeder Ranch. Located near Wessington Springs, S.D., the ranch has been raising purebred Gelbvieh cattle since 1993. Through the years, the herds' genetics have been improved with quality purchases from other breeders, and by utilizing some of the latest technology such as ultra sound scanning and DNA tenderness testing. These quality cattle are offered for sale at the annual production sale each spring. For more information visit www.schroedercattle.com.
CRYSTAL-PHOS® has been consistently used for five years as the main mineral program for all cattle on the ranch, purebred and commercial. Steve Schroeder, owner, said they first began using CRYSTAL-PHOS® out of convenience.
"We like the fact that it's less labor and we didn't like feeding equipment getting damaged or broken. We've tried a lot of other supplement programs," says Steve.
Nutrition programs, or the lack of them, in a beef cattle operation can sometimes be best appraised over the long term. At the Schroeder Ranch, since using CRYSTAL-PHOS®, health issues at calving have been minimal, and breeding characteristics (conception rates) have improved by 3-4% over time.
"Cattle stay in good condition, have good hair coat, and at calving we haven't cleaned a cow in 3-4 years. We attribute much success to good genetics and management, as well as our mineral program."
With a volatile cattle market and input costs being more challenging to manage, certain nutritional programs can be harshly scrutinized or even cut drastically.
"Some ranches have cut back and likely have had more problems," says Steve.
"We've stayed with CRYSTALYX® and have had minimal calving and health issues."
CRYSTAL-PHOS® is a unique CRYSTALYX® supplement in itself. Most people think of CRYSTALYX® as being a protein supplement only, but CRYSTAL-PHOS® is formulated and fed as a mineral supplement and has some real world advantages of feeding. It's labor friendly and comes with its own feeder (steel barrel) or in the BioBarrel® (biodegradable single trip container).
According to Schroeder's herdsman, Dustin Tolsma, year round feeding consumption averages 3-4 ounces with the higher end being around calving and breeding and the lower end during the summer months.