CRYSTALYX® Block Benefits in Canada

Nov 21, 2022

When you can have four seasons in one day in Canada, account manager Reed VanDriesten, discusses how CRYSTALYX® helps farmers and ranchers through that challenge.


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RELATED ARTICLE: Feeding CRYSTALYX in winter weather, a Canadian perspective


ANNOUNCER:              I’m Tom Martin, and we’re joined by Ridley Block Operations Canadian Account Manager Reed Van Driesten in Fort Macleod in Alberta.

                                   Welcome, Reed.

Reed:                           Thanks, Tom. How are you today?

ANNOUNCER:              Doing really good.

                                   And let’s begin this by asking you where you see Crystalyx Blocks (as being) most beneficial in your world.

Reed:                           Well, up here, especially, I really believe that they’re a great way to have a mineral delivery system throughout the year for cow-calf operations — even in pre-calving and, foremost, (in the) third trimester, where, you know, 70% of the calves are being born and developed at that time, and it’s a great way to keep them in great body condition at that time.

ANNOUNCER:              What’s the advantage of a block over a loose mineral?

Reed:                           Well, that’s a good question. I get asked that quite often, and really, it’s the fact that you don’t need a mineral feeder. You know, with the weather we get up in Canada, we have four seasons in one day sometimes, you know. So, we have a lot of waste due to wind, rain, snow, etc. And you know, having a molasses mineral-based block, you don’t get any loss of product.

And, you know, another one is that it attracts the animal due to the sweetness of it and the sugar content, and compared to other rock products that are commonly used, like in a loose mineral, we’ll get a higher percentage of cattle to consume it.

ANNOUNCER:             You mentioned cold weather, and so that makes me wonder: Will cattle be able to consume these blocks in cold weather?

Reed:                           The short answer is yes. Crystalyx is a true low-moisture block, which is basically between 2–5% moisture, so it doesn’t freeze like some of the high-moisture blocks that are on the market right now. And when it’s cold, cattle need the extra protein and energy, so if it’s frozen, it’s not much help when it’s most needed, typically. So, that’s the advantage of feeding them.

ANNOUNCER:              Well, how much will cattle typically consume?

Reed:                           Well, there’s typically — there’s a protein block, which is consumed at a half to a three-quarter pound per head per day, and then (there’s) a mineral block, which is (consumed at) a quarter pound per head per day. So, that’s the two differences. So, one has protein and one is just a mineral. And it’s controlled by the hardness.

And we look at how we control intakes, too. If we need to lessen the amount, we can move the blocks out further from the loafing areas and the water and make it a little harder for the cattle to go to. And we recommend roughly one block for 25 head.

ANNOUNCER:               And what are the container options offered by Crystalyx?

Reed:                           We have plastic, and we have bios, and we have steel. So, the BioBarrel is becoming a very popular thing. It is a barrel that is a “going, going, gone” concept; as it’s eaten down around the outside, it goes down and, eventually, will just be gone. So, there’s no plastic container to recycle, no steel to return.

And it comes in a variety of sizes. So, we’ve got, you know — commonly, (the most popular option) would be a 250-lb. to 260-lb. (barrel).

ANNOUNCER:              So, how do I know which block I should be using in feeding?

Reed:                           Well, Crystalyx has a wide variety of options, as far as protein and mineral blocks, to fit your nutrition needs. It really depends (on) what you’re feeding your cows. That’s really the question we should be asking when the customer asks that. If they’re on a good-quality hay, maybe a good mineral program is really all they need.

                                    And another option to look into — and a self-help (option) — would be (that) Crystalyx has an app that you can use on your phone or tablet to help you decide which mineral and protein products you should be using.

ANNOUNCER:               And how can you obtain that app?

Reed:                            Go on iTunes and just punch in “Crystalyx app,” literally, and it will come onto your phone.

ANNOUNCER:               All right, very good. That’s Ridley Block Operations Canadian Account Manager Reed Van Driesten.

                                     And for Beyond the Barrel, I’m Tom Martin.