Performance is served: There's no better barrel

Sep 17, 2020

With the launch of the new ad campaign: “Performance is served”, Jill Peine dives into how performance is considered in all aspects of CRYSTALYX. From the manufacturing process to pasture grazing and weaning performance, Jill breaks down how CRYSTALYX can help you achieve the goals you have in your operation.


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Tom:      I’m Tom Martin and I’m talking with Jill Peine, nutritionist with CRYSTALYX® Brand Supplements. Hi, Jill.

Jill:         Hi, Tom.

Tom:      We understand that CRYSTALYX is launching a new ad campaign. Can you tell us a little more about that and what it means?

Jill:         Absolutely. Our new CRYSTALYX ad campaign is: “Performance is served.” And for today’s podcast here, I want to dive in a little bit more on what this means to us and how it is all about our customers working toward achieving the goals that they have in their operation through CRYSTALYX supplementation.

Tom:      Okay. So, let’s start at the beginning. How is performance considered in the manufacturing process of CRYSTALYX?

Jill:         When we think about performance, often, what comes to mind is “high-quality.” At CRYSTALYX, quality has always been at the top of our mind and will always continue to be. Beginning with our manufacturing process at the plant, we use, first and foremost, quality ingredients, and it is manufactured in the most consistent, beneficial way (with) the customer in mind.

While CRYSTALYX contains a lot of molasses to make it the palatable product that it is, molasses can come in different levels of moisture, depending on the time of year, the load of the molasses or other factors. Now, this percent moisture is important in what we call the cooking process. In order to get a hard, consistent product that helps control the consumption or how much the cows can lick off at a time, there needs to be very little moisture at all. And our experienced cookers at the plants know just where that fine line is, from cooking off the moisture but not overcooking it.

RELATED: Managing pasture and rangeland productivity

Now, cooking the molasses releases the moisture, and if the molasses that comes in has more moisture or less, it is controlled in what is known as the batch process. It’s a lot like making peanut brittle, where you’re cooking off and dehydrating the product. That is what can be controlled in this process. Once all that moisture is removed, those minerals, vitamins and the protein (are) added to that cooked texture like molasses and weighed into the barrels.

               Now, while installing this batch system for manufacturing isn’t cheap compared to some other systems, it greatly benefits the customer to result in a more consistent product. And not only do our high-quality ingredients (result in) better performance, but also, the added technology available in many of our product lineups — whether that is the Bioplex® organic trace minerals or maybe some added Bio-Mos® 2 — the added technology available, and available at the recommended rate and will help drive the performance in a variety of those situations.

               And I had mentioned that our cookers in the plants, that they have a lot of experience doing what they do, but I also believe that the high-quality performance product that CRYSTALYX brings to the animal nutrition world is through the many, many years of experience that we have within our organization. Now, we have a great team of plant superintendents and managers, directors, research team members, marketing, sales, formulators and also the plant personnel who are together each and every day and have many, many years of experience in the self-fed supplement business.

So, the CRYSTALYX team is made up of experienced individuals to arrive at a high-quality performance product for our customers.

Tom:      For end users, what are some performance drivers that can help their own operation in relation to CRYSTALYX?

Jill:         Supplementing with CRYSTALYX is an investment. It’s an investment in the future performance of the cow herd, and by supplementing with the nutrients that your cattle need, you will improve your bottom line.

We know that mineral nutrition is important and that trace mineral nutrition, especially, will play an important role in many benefits in performance factors within the cow calf operation. Now, reproductive performance and fertility greatly depend on trace minerals — and specifically, the zinc, copper, magnesium, selenium. And while minerals are supplemented year-round, or should be supplemented year-round —  and that’s because, normally, pastures and forages may be deficient in some minerals or have too much, which really may result in antagonistic effects to prevent the absorption of other minerals.

               And so, by providing a self-fed supplement, cattle can get what they need and when they need it. And it’s also important to be sure cattle receive the minerals they need leading up to calving.

Research has shown that the Bioplex organic trace minerals that are available in many of our supplements help improve overall calf health through improving immunoglobulin absorption, which comes from the colostrum. It also improves weaning rates, with a number of studies showing a 25-lb. improvement. And so, each of those factors can really positively impact the bottom line, which is why we consider supplementing with CRYSTALYX an investment.

Tom:      This time of year, we start thinking about protein supplementation. Can you touch on some of the performance benefits that come with feeding a protein supplement?

Jill:         Yes. As fall moves in, many pastures are reaching dormancy or, in many parts of the U.S. this year, drought conditions, too, have really severely impacted forage quality.

               Now, for cow-calf operations, forage is the most valuable resource. When pastures dry up, it causes a lot of uncertainty and increases management that’s needed to make up for that deficiency in both forage quality and also quantity. By providing a self-fed protein supplement under these conditions, it can really help. While forages during dry periods may contain less protein and greater fibrous material, a protein supplement will help improve that digestibility of low-quality forages and really help increase the amount of critical energy cows can extract from the forage.

               With both a blend of rumen-degradable protein as well as the bypass protein, rumen microbial fermentation will be maximized to help digest those low-quality forages more efficiently. And this will help improve the protein status of the cow, which helps the overall productivity in maintaining things like body condition, milk production and also proper fetal development.

               In addition to protein, these forages may also be lacking in minerals and vitamins, and so, it is especially important to be sure that cattle are consuming sufficient amounts of things like phosphorus, as well as vitamin A, which can also be deficient in forages that are harvested before or after a drought.

Tom:      Let’s talk about other ways to stretch forages. CRYSTALYX has done research in the past on using supplements to improve grazing distribution within a pasture. Tell us more about that.

Jill:         Yeah. When we talk about performance, not only do we highlight cow performance but, also, the beneficial pasture performance, as well, that we can achieve through feeding CRYSTALYX.

               Now, managing the grazing pattern or the grazing distribution of cattle can be easily accomplished by providing a self-fed protein supplement. Now, during the fall and winter months, cattle and pasture may take the easy route and graze near water sources or lowland riparian areas, which may lead to overgrazing. By strategically placing barrels in areas where you want the cattle to go, such as the highland areas or rougher-terrain areas, or to lure them into grazing more underutilized areas, the barrels can be placed in those locations.

               Now, there’s been extensive research in collecting data through a GPS system on cattle, which has shown that a molasses-based supplement like CRYSTALYX helps cows to better utilize existing forage through spending more time within a 600-yard radius of that supplement. Now, grass utilization is also improved when cattle graze to and from visiting that barrel, and the palatability of the molasses blocks not only lures the cow to graze in those specific areas but also entices consumption.

Regardless of being offered a harvested forage or grazing in pastures, it’s been noted that a greater percentage of cows will consume a self-fed molasses-based supplement each day when compared to a conventional dry mineral, which can result in a better mineral status across the entire herd.

               Now, under dry conditions or drought scenarios, (which) many areas across the U.S. are experiencing here today, the barrel placement can also be used to help strategically move cows farther from water sources that may be harder to find or (are) drying up in some pastures under this condition. And this can really help improve the grazing distribution and reduce overgrazing those already stressed forages.

Tom:      It’s that time of year, Jill, when many cattle producers are now gearing up for weaning. How can CRYSTALYX help them with achieving greater weaning performance?

Jill:         Absolutely. As we come into the fall time of year, most of those spring-calving cow herds will be thinking about weaning off this year’s calf crop. And one of our most popular products this time of year are the stress blocks. These include the Brigade® and the Blueprint® Battalion® option.

               Now, these products are specifically formulated with the minerals and vitamins that are critical during times of stress that the calves may be depleted of, as well as a bit of protein that’s added in there. These blocks really help calves get off to the right start. They help stimulate their appetite and get on feed and also, through the licking action, help buffer the rumen and really soothe their throats; they tend to bawl a lot during this time. Now, these weaning-stress block options really help drive performance into the right direction come weaning time.

And I’d also like to mention some of the other additives we have that are of high quality and (are) performance-driven. And those additives are option such as fly control or FEB-200™ for fescue forages or our BOVATEC® self-fed supplement known as Iono-lyx®.

Whether it’s springtime, through the winter or over the summer months, each of these additives and options may be critical in achieving the greatest performance from your heifers or cow herds, and there’s an option with the CRYSTALYX lineup for that.

Tom:      That’s a lot of good information on performance. With the ad campaign, “Performance is served,” how does CRYSTALYX tie in service?

Jill:         Sure. When we think about serving, at CRYSTALYX, we think about serving the barrel to the cattle. Since CRYSTALYX is a self-fed supplement, this barrel can be placed out with the cattle, and it’s available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unlike some other supplemental methods, the cattle don’t need to wait for us two or three times a week to receive the supplement. It’s constantly available to them in a palatable yet controlled form. And since this is the case, not only is it convenient for the cattle, but (it’s) also convenient for the cow men.

Supplementation in this way saves you time as well as labor. And we’ve been told by a few customers and producers that CRYSTALYX literally has changed their life. Without having to spend an entire day filling up the feeder and hauling supplement out to cows, they are able to go check on the cows when they want and not interrupt their grazing throughout the day. So, service convenience through a self-fed supplementation, especially in today’s day and age, is important in most all operations.

               Also, something unique about CRYSTALYX Brand Supplements is that we offer products to be served in three different container options. That black steel container has been around for a long time, and it’s really an iconic look for CRYSTALYX. We also offer a 200-lb. plastic option, as well as the BioBarrel®  

Now, the BioBarrel has been around for a number of years now, but improvements have been made along the way to help this biodegradable container stand up under more conditions. This is what we call a single-trip container, where you can literally feed it and forget about it, unlike those empty steel or plastic options, (which) you have to go back to pick up. And the container will biodegrade as the product is being consumed. It’s made up of straw, wood fiber and flour, along with Weather-All protectant technology to help improve the weatherability. So, this container is environmentally friendly and is a unique way to serve supplement to your cattle.

               So, to wrap up, the take-home message here is that CRYSTALYX is more than just a self-fed supplement. It’s an investment into the current and the future performance of your cow herd, and with CRYSTALYX, performance is served.

               And to locate your closest dealer or to look through the product options to fit the needs of your cattle, go to

Tom:      Well, we look forward to seeing the new ad campaign in print and digital ads across the country. Jill Peine, nutritionist with CRYSTALYX Brand Supplements. Thanks so much, Jill.

Jill:         Thank you.