Brigade Still Pays Off For Receiving Calf Programs

Natural Beef Programs Gain Extra Benefits

Ingredient and commodity prices continue to escalate, and many producers are tempted to think that adding supplementation costs may not be good for their bottom line. But some revealing data from research done on receiving calves in a major Northern Great Plains commercial feedlot shows that, even in the face of higher ingredient costs, supplementing with CRYSTALYX® Brigade® Stress Fighting Formula still pays for both traditional commercial and natural programs.

The calves were divided into a 421-head control group and another group of 455 calves that were supplemented with Brigade®, and tracked over a 46 to 51-day period. Both groups were fed the same nutritionally balanced feed ration. The pens with calves in the Brigade® group had Brigade® barrels placed between the water and the feed bunk. The returns were impressive.

The Brigade® group experienced fewer treats and pulls, fewer deaths, higher feed intake and improved feed efficiency. When it comes down to dollars and cents, the difference Brigade® makes is even more distinct. The control group had a net profit of $2.42 per head. The Brigade® group had a net profit of $12.20, a difference of $9.78 per head better profit with Brigade®. And the $6.45 per head Brigade® cost was already accounted for in the feed costs. In other words, the advantage is based on performance alone, above the cost of Brigade®.

“For the commercial producer the Brigade® benefit is clear,” Mark Robbins, Research and Nutrition Services Manager for Ridley Block Operations, says. “If you spend the $6.45 on Brigade®, you get that back, plus the $9.78, so you get $16.23 total, a return on investment of two-and-a-half-to-one.”

Brigade® is a “Natural” for Natural Beef Programs

Reducing the treatment of sick calves, in addition to being cost effective, also makes Brigade® an excellent fit for natural beef programs. A natural program stresses no use of antibiotics or hormonal growth promotants. The nutritional boost will prevent spare producers from having to treat as many calves and pull them out of the program.

“These cattle were in a natural beef program,” Robbins notes. “If you have a sick calf in a natural program, you’re obligated to treat that calf to save its life. Treating it means using antibiotics in most cases, and using antibiotics makes that calf fall out of the program, thus it can’t be marketed as natural.”

The study shows that Brigade® gives producers fewer treats and pulls, and that means less dollars, less time, less labor. In a natural program that results in more calves that sell at a higher price.

In this study there were 158 calves treated in the control group. Those calves were sorted off separately, sold commercially, and eliminated from the natural program. The Brigade® group treated 90 calves, 68 fewer than the control group. Brigade® allowed the owner to keep 68 additional calves in the natural program. At 654 pounds average end weight and assuming $12 a head per CWT premium, that results in an $11.89 per head increase in profit across all Brigade® calves marketed in this study.