Look after the nutritional needs of your stock, and the returns will follow.
That’s the message from a leading British ruminant nutritionist, Dr Cliff Lister, who visited New Zealand recently (SUBS: May) for a tour of educational seminars about the benefits of the Crystalyx range of dehydrated molasses blocks.
Dr Lister, in conjunction with Crystalyx importer and distributor Summit Quinphos, was keen to impart knowledge that would help local farmers improve their returns from their forage-based systems.
He stressed that the key to better results was nutrient intake and balancing the pasture.
Crystalyx – a range of dehydrated molasses blocks fortified with micro- and macro-nutrients – aids the total digestibility of the forage on offer, regardless of its quality, he explained.
The blocks deliver a high dose of energy for the rumen along with a combination of crucial nutrients. The balance of energy and protein is critical for good rumen function.
It works by feeding the bugs in the rumen to increase their number and activity. This increases the total digestibility of forage that can then be converted to milk or meat.
“The faster the rumen bugs work to release nutrients, the better the intake and use of the available feed. This is true for all forage types, even spring grass, and stock also benefit from the continuous supply of trace elements, minerals and vitamins,” said Dr Lister.
Crystalyx is not a substitute for forage, he said, but rather it complements forage by improving its nutritional value.
The products have been comprehensively trialled in the US, the UK and Europe, and field trials were also conducted in New Zealand ahead of the product launch to see how Crystalyx could fit into our systems.
Dr Lister, visiting our shores for the third time in a year, stressed to sheep and beef farmers at his final briefing at Piopio that the Crystalyx licks available here have been reformulated for New Zealand conditions, utilising herbage test data collected by Summit Quinphos over a number of years.
“There are practical ways to address the key issues of lamb survivability, sleepy sickness/dystocia, ewe hogget tupping weight, and autumn ill-thrift in lambs,” Dr Lister told farmers.
“Looking after the ewes’ nutritional needs will ultimately improve lamb survival and growth rates.”
Willie Thomson, Summit Quinphos General Manager, recognised the opportunity for New Zealand farmers to benefit from this unique Crystalyx technology several years ago, based on his own experience in the UK industry.
“Whilst basic principles of forage based systems are the same, we realise New Zealand farmers will want local trials to translate it into our own context and to back up the large amount of international trial work. We are committed to doing this, with one trial underway and several others pending to cover a variety of stock classes,” said Mr Thomson.
The research in New Zealand will be undertaken to mirror international trials, which have demonstrated live-weight gains, higher pregnancy rates and reduced risk of milk fever.
“However, the proof is in the pudding, and we already have some positive testimonies from farmers who have started using the Crystalyx products and are seeing the results.”
The full Crystalyx range covers most farm animals, with a product for dairy, deer, milking goats, sheep and beef. There is also an organic range available, which provides similar benefits and is BioGro certified as restricted.
4 June 2010