Drylick or Liquid Molasses Supplements?
One of the most common questions I get asked by graziers is “what is the difference or which is better to use, Dry lick, Lick Blocks or Liquid licks”? The answers is, any supplement is better than no supplementing if it is giving you an increase in production and profit or correcting a deficiency.
But first you need to identify what you want from your livestock and your desired outcome before selecting a supplement program or product?
Do you want more calves and increase calving percentage?
Do you need breeders to cycle during the dry or increase their body condition to be able to start cycling?
Increase weaner weights?
Improve weight gain?
Minimise weight loss in the dry season?
Improve heifer maturity or increase weight gain for joining?
Early weaning calves?
Once you have identified your desired outcome you can then work out your limitation. Some limitation cannot be improved with nutrition and may be physical problems like water point access or genetics etc. With nutrition, you may need some assistants from someone who has nutritional expertise to work with you to identify what is restricting your production. Understanding the supplement label or analysis can even confuse experienced industry people.
Most drylick, blocks and molasses supplements can contain similar ingredients to each other. However, the real difference is molasses and grain based products provide high energy (similar to green grass) from sugar or starch and have a good balance of energy, protein and minerals. Energy supplements will increase fibre (grass) intake by up to 30% and help balance the animals diet during the dry season. While a few dry or loose licks contain useful amounts of energy the majority of dry or loose licks and blocks provide minimal energy levels (similar to dry grass). Most are only protein and mineral balanced and filled with excess ingredients to limit intake. Cattle convert the urea to ammonia in the rumen and without sufficient energy the animal cannot utilise all the ammonia. Up to half of the urea can be lost into the urine and wasted as expensive fertilizer when cattle have insufficient energy in their system to utilise the ammonia.
Recommended supplement to use during the year
|Active growth, green||Supplement with Phosphorus|
|Late Vegetation, green||Continue with phosphorus supplementation|
|Early Flowering||Supplement with LiquidLik or Drylick|
|Mid-flowering||Continue with LiquidLik|
|Late Flowering||Use Ultralix Breeder or Grower|
|Dry Grass and Stalks||Continue with Breeder or Grower|
|Dry Stalks||Continue with Breeder if rain is near or add forage source or use UltraMeal|
When livestock are grazing green grass and consuming excess energy, protein and minerals above their daily maintenance requirements, your cattle will use the excess energy and protein to grow and regain muscle and bodyweight. While the green grass is growing, we recommend supplementing with a phosphorus supplement as phosphorus is the most limiting nutrient during the wet season. Once the grass reaches early flowering you should consider using LiquidLik or a good drylick or block which will provide protein, phosphorus and minerals. Cattle should still be receiving some energy from the greenish grass. From late flowering once the grass is matured we recommend supplementing with Ultralix Breeder or Grower but you could also use M8U or a grain mix. Once the grass or forage has matured the grass usually provides insufficient energy for the livestock to utilise all the protein and mineral in the supplement. Supplementing with an energy supplement will increase the livestock intake and allowing the livestock to consume sufficient energy to utilise the protein and minerals.