The lauch of the Crystalyx range gave us the opportunity to offer a product with multiple benefits to clients farming acorss all ruminant stock types. The micro- and macro-nutrients in Crystalyx balance out the nutrition in pasture and mean that extra feed value can be extracted from grass and supplementary feed. We have formulated the product to meet the deficiencies in New Zealand pastures.
Crystalyx has been widely used in the USA, UK and Europe for 15 years. A dehydrated molasses block, it was first trialled by Pfizer as a measured delivery system with ad lib access. The benefits of improved rumen function were only confirmed later. Trials done at K State University in Kansas, USA, showed that Crystalyx increased both the number and activity of rumen protozoa (from 38,328 per gram of ruminal fluid to 57,444 per gram). This led to increased speed of fermentation, enabling feed to be better utilised.
Crystalyx is used on pre-calving beef cows in teh prairie plains of the USA, where feed quality is poor. It is said, 'it turns straw into hay'. You might think that this would have limited application for New Zealand farmers, but trials done at Newcastle University in the UK proved otherwise. In those studies, three pasture types - grass/clover, pure ryegrass and permanent pasture - were tested in both spring and autumn. The outcome was a 6% increase in the rate of cellulose digestion and degradability.
The improved feed conversion efficiency achieved by using Crystalyx is evident in the production of milk and meat. The good news is this can e achieved over relatively short periods. The Scottish College of Agriculture compared two groups of R2 heifers over six weeks. They found a 12% increase in live weight gain when feeding Crystalyx. The heifers licked 68 grams of Crystalyx a day.
What's more, a trial conducted in Germany resulted in a 36% increase in live weight gain and a 12% increase in conception rates amongst test groups of about 60 heifers.
Crystalyx intakes are driven by its palatability but restricted by its hard nature. The product contains virtually no moisture and resembles hard toffee. It can only be licked - not bitten or chewed. After licking the block cows go away to drink water, but will return to the block many times through the day. Target intakes are 50 g for sheep, 75 g for deer and 200 g for adult beef or dairy animals.
There are several products within the Crystalyx range. We foresee they will be used in, but not limited to, the dry cow, pre- and post-lambing, pre-mating and pre-calving in heifers, pre- and post-fawning, milking goats and organic systems.