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Increased fertility with Crystalyx


7 December 2012

Increased fertility with Crystalyx

With the red meat sector remaining optimistic as returns for beef and lamb remain stable, taking action to boost stock fertility will further improve profitability for dry stock farmers.

For Central Otago sheep and beef farmers Peter and Dougal Macdougall, maximising production to combat the challenges that both the environment and global marketplace present in any given year is paramount. They’ve found a simple solution that has contributed to improved stock yields, ensuring they have more in-calf cattle after just two conception cycles.

The Macdougall’s 4800 hectare farm at Miller’s Flat in Central Otago is one third low, mid high altitude country. Alongside their Perendale flock and deer they run a 150 heifers and a mob of 750 cows – mostly Hereford and Angus/Hereford cross mated to Charolais genetics within a total herd of 900 cows.

Three years ago Peter heard about Crystalyx, a range of dehydrated molasses lick blocks marketed in New Zealand by farm nutrition company Altum.

He started with the Crystalyx Dry Cow block pre and post calving, which can be used for beef or dairy cattle. He then moved onto Forage Plus as an experiment to improve feed utilisation. Following some generally positive results in the first year of use, Peter has ensured his stock have access to the licks 100% of the time over the last two years.

“We scanned our highest ever percentage of in calf cows this season,” said Peter.

Out of 150 heifers, Peter said four were dry and within his mob of 400 cows, five were dry. This compares with a usual dry rate of at least double the results since using Crystalyx.

In addition, Peter said all stock conceived in the first two cycles – within 40 days – which was also an improvement on previous results.

“Another added bonus we’ve noticed with Crystalyx is that when the calves are weaned they get onto the product straight away because they see their mothers using it.”

Crystalyx works by feeding the microbial population in the animal’s rumen, improving digestibility and providing key nutrients. As a result stock process more food, eat more and absorb essential elements including selenium, copper, vitamins, calcium, phosphate and magnesium.

“I like the science behind the licks,” said Peter. “It’s all common sense really and I also like that Altum are running New Zealand trials.”

Forage Plus, which has a different formulation to the Dry Cow product, was the subject of a fertility trial in New Zealand that concluded early 2011. A herd of two-year-old dairy cross-bred heifers were provided with Crystalyx Forage Plus licks eight weeks prior to the introduction of bulls. At the end of the trial involving a total of 319 heifers, 100% of the heifers were in calf compared to 95% of the control herd.


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