ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the latest Block Talk podcast, brought to you by Crystalyx brand supplements. The way cattle are fed is constantly evolving, from the days of the salt block, to trace minerals in the 50s, on to the addition of copper and chelated organic trace minerals in the 90s. And it continues through today. The way cattle are raised is also evolving, as the genetic profile of today's herds are very different from the herds of the '50s. Teri Walsh is a Crystalyx nutritionist who looks at the past and the present of supplementation and sees even more interesting choices for the future.
TERI: A lot of the history of supplementation, it kind of goes from doing absolutely nothing to offering salt to discovering that, "Oh, animals need a little bit more than salt. And a lot of that research happened in the 40s and the 50s. A lot of it was done by depriving animals completely of any kind of supplementation, and then adding things back and watching how the animal improved in either production or appearance or any other kind of maladies that happened from that complete deprivation. So that's where all of the standards were set. A lot of that research was either done with oxides or sulfates. Nobody thought anything of it because they saw the animals improve, and so then as research started to evolve in the 90s, we started to notice that, "Oh, hey, there's other things in the environment that are affecting how these sulfates and oxides are absorbed in the body, so maybe we need to look at adding a little bit more so that we can account for things that are interfering. And the more that people looked into this, they started to see that not only are there things in the environment that interact with those oxides and sulfates, but the oxides and sulfates in the body themselves interact with each other. So what happened is, we just keep adding more and more on top of that. And with the advent of chelated or organic trace minerals, that was seen as a way to kind of circumvent some of those interactions. And so now we have these higher levels of inorganic trace minerals in our supplement, and now we're adding organics on top of that, to really try and get around some of these antagonism things. So that's really where we're at today. As far as the evolution of Crystalyx, for a long time, the HE-20, which is one of our highest selling products, it was simply just a protein supplement. There was no salt, there wasn't really any trace minerals added. I believe it was in the 90s, they started adding some copper. And now what we're looking at today is a whole new way of thinking about how we supplement animals with the Blueprint program.
ANNOUNCER: The evolution of supplementation has gone with the evolution of the way producers have raised cattle.
TERI: Some producers have been really open to trying new things. There's a lot of, "Well, this is how Grandpa did it, and so this is how I'm going to do it because it worked for Grandpa." You never know, Grandpa might have been on the cutting edge when he started putting out a salt block or when he started buying those first complete trace mineral supplements and putting those out for those cattle. But I think one thing that producers need to keep in mind is that the genetics of those cattle that those first research trials were done with are light years compared to what we have with the high-producing cattle today. Even a standard commercial herd is way ahead genetically compared to those cattle from the 40s and the 50s. So really, we need to think about evolving our supplement program to not only meet the needs of those cattle, which are no longer a thousand pounds any more. They're closer to 1,400 or 1,500 pounds. And we've got to look at the genetic profile that maybe demands a little bit more, or demands a better type of nutrition.
ANNOUNCER: What's ahead as far as research and development of supplementation products?
TERI: One of the things that being a part of Alltech is giving Crystalyx an advantage is, Alltech is really looking at the nutrigenomics side of supplementation. So what happens when we feed a certain level of copper, and what happens when we make that copper organic, as in the case of the Bio-Plex copper? What they're finding is it will either up regulate genes or down regulate genes. And really what's happening is we're switching on and off different production parameters within the animal. By doing that, we can make that animal even more efficient and increase the producer's return on investment even more.
ANNOUNCER: How has this whole process affected producers and their cattle?
TERI: One thing that producers need to think about is, whatever level of supplement that you are providing, and regardless of whether it's an oxide or a sulfate, that not all of that is going to be absorbed. And what's not absorbed in the gut, whether it's bound with something, another trace mineral, or the flow in the gut is too fast that it can't get bound to a transporter, that that's going to end up in the manure. And for cow-calf producers right now, that nutrient load may not be a big deal, but there are going to be changes in regulations that are coming. Copper might be one of the first micronutrients that get added to that nutrient load profile. So if we can change how we think about supplementation and provide something that's more bioavailable in the gut, there'll be less coming out in that manure pat, and there'll be less things for the producer to worry about when the regulators come around knocking.
ANNOUNCER: Blueprint supplements are the next evolution of Crystalyx, and a change in the way of thinking about how to supplement cattle.
TERI: We have taken out all of the inorganic sources of trace minerals. When a producer reads the Crystalyx Blueprint ingredient statement, they're not going to see any oxides or sulfates added. They're all from Bio-Plex. Copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt. And then we've added ethylenediamine dihydriodide, or EDDI, as our iodine source, which is considered an organic form of iodine. The benefit of doing that is that those are considered twice as available as the sulfates and oxides. What happens is, in the gut, when they get to the gut, they can move across that wall because they're already bound to a transporter, that being the protein aid itself. The other advantage of that is since there's so much more bioavailable, we don't have to supplement nearly as much. So one of the things that producers are going to notice when they're looking at those Blueprint product labels is that the trace mineral guarantees are lower than what they've seen traditionally. And that's going to be a tipping point for some people, because they're going to look at two labels and see that the copper is higher in one and lower in the other, but the product that it's lower in might cost a little bit more. But the advantage of that Blueprint program is that the source of copper is twice as available as in the non-Blueprint product.
ANNOUNCER: There are six products in the Blueprint line-up.
TERI: The Blueprint program really does have something for everyone. We've got some protein products and a 6 percent phos mineral, both of which have an option to include Actigen, which our customers are already very familiar with in terms of animal health and performance. We also have two products in our Breed Up line, which is very popular right now. Those products are geared toward the people that don't want to feed that Blueprint program year-round. But as breeding and calving come up, they want to have a little extra punch for those cattle and that's what these products would be ideal for.
ANNOUNCER: That's it for this Block Talk podcast, brought to you by Crystalyx brand supplements, an easy way to provide self-fed protein, vitamins and trace minerals in a low moisture supplement formulated for all types of feeding situations from low quality foragers to fly control and everything in between. Learn more about the Blueprint program and all that Crystalyx has to offer by going to www.crystalyx.com. It all adds up to results by the barrel.