Forage is still one of the cheapest available feeds for cattle and is capable of sustaining good levels of animal performance even in the autumn and winter. But forage provides an inconsistent source of nutrients and without a balanced nutrient intake, feed digestion and animal performance will suffer.
Growing youngstock, including bulling and in-calf heifers have a high requirement for all major minerals and trace elements to sustain growth and performance. Whilst lactating cows usually get some supplementation, heifers are often left to fend for themselves solely off grass and silage.
Crystalyx Cattle Booster is a high energy feed lick, which also contains generous levels of all essential minerals and trace elements sufficient to correct all likely mineral deficiencies and imbalances found in forages. The high sugar content helps feed the rumen bugs so they work harder at digesting forage.
On-going research continues to show the ability of Crystalyx to get the best out of forages for all ages of growing cattle by improving forage digestibility and stimulating intakes. Young cattle in their first year typically eat approx 100g Cattle Booster/head/day at grass, with bulling and in-calf heifers eating about 150g/day – with increased daily liveweight gains of 16-20% being recorded.
And for bulling heifers there are potential further benefits of improved in-calf rates over grass-fed controls. In a large New Zealand study with 319 dairy replacement heifers divided into 4 mobs (2 Crystalyx and 2 control mobs), mated by natural service at grass, both Crystalyx-fed mobs recorded a 100% pregnancy rate, compared with a 95% pregnancy rate in the controls.
Crystalyx never replaces forage, it complements and balances it, so the rumen bugs digest the forage faster and with improved efficiency. This can allow for increased forage intakes (when it is available) but in all cases leads to improved animal performance. Feeding Crystalyx can’t make up for the soggy wet summer but it will help make better use of autumn grass and silage – it really does take some licking!