“Feed it and forget it” is an apt description of Ridley Block’s new BioBarrel™. Recommended for use in pasture or range-grazing situations, BioBarrel is a patented, biodegradable container that allows producers to provide 200 lbs. net of Crystalyx® supplement in a true, single-trip container to grazing cattle. The biodegradable containers eliminate costs and labor necessary to retrieve reusable steel containers or disposable plastic tubs.
The BioBarrel is made of ground straw coated with a soy flour solution, then pressed and molded. No chemicals or adhesives are used in making the container, which is safe for ingestion by cattle and designed to degrade as livestock consume the Crystalyx.
“It’s a great improvement, because you don’t have those empty barrels scattered all over your pasture,” says Jim Williams, manager of the V8 Ranch in Boling, TX. He along with his dad, Sloan, manage the family-owned outfit that raises purebred Brahman and Shorthorn cattle, and also run a commercial cattle herd.
Williams says he relies on the Crystalyx to supplement his cattle when grazing gets short or forage is dormant. He says it helps cattle do better on poorer-quality grazing.
“The cattle tend to eat it when they need it; they don't overeat. It props up our nutritional program and helps our herd health and reproduction, too. It's another piece, just like our good vaccination and worming programs,” Williams says.
Fred Helbling of Helbling Hereford Ranch says he and brothers, Jim and Wayne, first used Crystalyx products on their Mandan, ND, purebred operation more than 20 years ago during drought to support grass conditions and maintain herd health. They liked the results, and have continued to use the products to supplement late-summer and fall grazing with added bonuses in grass management and herd health.
The Helblings participated in a field demonstration for the BioBarrel. Fred reports the single-trip containers were “cowboy friendly,” convenient, environmentally safe and provided quality and results similar to their experience with product in the returnable steel barrels.
That's in keeping with attributes of the single-trip containers cited by Dan Dhuyvetter, Ridley Block Operations research and development manager. He adds the containers can withstand normal precipitation, but aren't designed for placement in standing water or excessively muddy conditions.
The BioBarrel is the result of nearly a decade of collaborative research and development by Kansas State University and Ridley Block Operations. Dhuyvetter says field tests indicate consumption and feeding rates are similar for either the BioBarrel or the returnable steel barrel. Visit http://www.Crystalyx.com
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