Crystalyx feed blocks: What’s all the fuss?
With so many different feed blocks and mineral buckets on the market, it is often difficult to determine which product offers the best value in terms of product cost and livestock performance.
The cost differential between blocks on the face of it can be quite significant; however, if you scratch the surface and look beyond price you will find that Crystalyx feed blocks are incredibly economical to use.
As well as this, they offer superior on-farm performance in terms of liveweight gain, milk yield, fertility and feed conversion efficiency.
There are several different ways that feed and mineral blocks are manufactured. Pressed blocks involve blended ingredients being poured into a mould and compressed.
Thin film evaporation involves molasses being flash cooked to remove moisture and allowed to cure and chemical production where the product’s hardness comes from an exothermic reaction.
There are several brands available in Irish and UK markets that are produced in these ways.
The process involves the slow-controlled cooking of molasses over time to induce dehydration of the molasses. Dehydration then continues in a second cooling stage under a vacuum, resulting in the formation of a consistent, high-quality, low moisture block that presents itself with a hard, vitreous structure that is resistant to cold wet weather.
Crystalyx blocks typically contain 2-3% residual moisture, with most dried feed stuffs containing around 10-12% and traditional chemical blocks containing as much as 20%. Water dilutes the nutrients, compromises the structural integrity of the product and can prove to be very expensive to transport.
Low required intakes
When comparing feed blocks and mineral tubs it is astonishing to see the huge variances in typical daily intakes.
Crystalyx Extra High Energy for sheep has typical intakes of 50g/ewe/day, whereas other types of sheep feed blocks can have typical intakes that are often double or triple that of Crystalyx, at over 150g/ewe/day in some cases.
The reason for the low intakes of Crystalyx blocks is simple: The unique manufacturing process produces a low moisture product that has a hard, glass-like structure, ensuring that livestock can only lick the product not chew and bite it, giving consistent intakes over an extended period of time.
This is in contrast to the way that livestock are able to gorge themselves on softer blocks.
Crystalyx products are packed full of protein, vitamins, minerals and contain more energy and sugar than most other feed/mineral blocks on the market.
With half the typical intakes, Crystalyx blocks are extremely economical to feed, with a few euros extra per block giving a product that on average lasts up to twice as long.
Extensive studies have shown that Crystalyx Extra High energy for sheep typically costs 4-6c per ewe/day with intakes falling between 33g-56g head/day.
Many companies produce products and claim their benefits based on best practice and anecdotal farm trials. Crystalyx takes its product development a step further and places a huge emphasis on proving their performance through independent trials.
Over the last 25 years, millions of euros have been invested in research and development at some of the finest agricultural institutes around the world, such as Kansas State University, Newcastle University and Aberystwyth University to name but a few.
The Crystalyx product range has something to suit all farm feeding systems. Whether that’s Crystalyx Cattle Booster, research proven to improve daily liveweight gain (DLWG) in youngstock by as much as 24.6%.
Crystalyx Extra High Energy is research proven to improve live lamb numbers by up to 20%.
Crystalyx Pre-Calver/Optimum feeding system which has been proven to reduce the calving to conception interval in dairy cows by up to 35 days.
Enhancing livestock performance; improving farm profitability
In trials, Crystalyx has been proven to offer a significant return on investment with every €1 spent offering at least a €2 return in terms of livestock performance.
Crystalyx products do not to replace forage, but complement and balance it, allowing livestock to perform at their very best.
Research undertaken at Newcastle University has shown that Crystalyx stimulates forage intake and improves forage digestion, allowing every animal to get the most out of the forage they have available.
Where to buy Crystalyx
Crystalyx can be sourced locally at a number of agricultural merchants throughout Ireland and the UK.
To locate your nearest stockist, or to find out more on how Crystalyx can work for you click here