A great question, and a common one, is how can I justify using an expensive mineral program?
Before we start talking about return on investment, we need to make this clear. Upfront, the Riomax® tub program always has been, and more than likely will always be the highest upfront priced tub on the market. This does not mean it is the most expensive. When you crunch the numbers, do the math, and take a close look at your actual cost to feed (which is your real cost), Riomax® will come out lower cost per day for the vast majority of the time. No different from the way the feedlot and dairy industries look at costs, the true number to focus on is your daily cost to feed.
Yet, Riomax® is often thought of as expensive.
Do High-Priced Cattle Mineral Supplements Actually Justify Their Cost?
It depends on how you look at it. As one rancher from Montana said:
“Riomax® is only expensive if you don’t know how to do math.”
In other words, if you do know how to do math, and you do due diligence on your ranching operation and your ranching business, your cost per head per day should be the number that you are making your decisions on.
Just calculating upfront cost is not entirely accurate when it comes down to the cost to feed your herd. If you break it down by month, by season, or by year, you will see that your total cost has far more components than just the upfront mineral price. We would be doing our customers no favors if we only focused on upfront cost.
Our focus is always rancher-centric, and hence, ensuring your cost per head per day is as low as possible is our priority. That, of course, is backed up by the COSTGUARD® consumption guarantee, which takes the risk off of your shoulders and gives you a ceiling to your cost. This way, you have the ability to know what the high end cost is going to be, without any negative surprises or confusion.
Does It Pay To Use Cattle Mineral Year-Round?
It is abundantly clear to folks that use Riomax® year-round that their cost per head per day is significantly lower than those that jump in and jump out. Low, consistent intake year-round means cows aren’t going to spike in consumption when they do have the tubs in front of them. Furthermore, the compounding results from continuous usage are very evident to ranchers.
In 2019, Larry from Wyoming used tubs year-round and here are his results:
100% 2YO mothers rebred (90-day exposure) and eliminated coccidiosis, summer pneumonia, foot rot, and cancer eyes.
Quality Mineral Supplements = The Best Return On Investment
Now that we understand the importance of calculating cost per head per day, there is something even more critical to analyze: return on investment.
In other words, for every dollar you spend, how much are you actually getting back? At Riomax®, we have something called the 'offset concept', and ranchers love it. Why? Ranchers using the Riomax® program have been able to measure their hay savings. Many times, the value of their hay savings completely offsets the cost of Riomax®.
In many cases, we see Riomax® costing ranchers $0, because of the amount of hay saved. The value thereof has completely paid for the product. This is truly an example of how Riomax® justifies its cost.
To quote an old nutritionist, "...the most expensive drug is the drug that doesn't work". To echo that, we believe that the most cost-effective program is the program that shows the greatest return on investment.
Mineral Cost Justification: Increased Conception Rates
Let’s discuss other ways that Riomax® justifies its own cost. Arguably the biggest measurable by which we are judged, year in and year out, is our effect on conception rates.
Typically, ranchers using Riomax® see a 3-10% increase in conception rates. This impact and the value of the heavier, healthier calves to market not only pays for the product, but puts a healthy return in the rancher’s pocket. Further, we help that cow out on pasture produce more milk with an increased level of butter fat. The calf, in turn, can better-utilize that milk and better-utilize any grass it’s grazing.
This results in increased weaning weights - without the expense of high-priced grain supplements. Here again is an example of how we’re helping:
- Express that genetic potential
- Optimize that land base
- Optimize all the resources that the rancher has
All without having to spend money on expensive supplements.
Is Riomax® The Best Mineral Program For You?
To conclude, if Riomax®, or any other high-priced mineral program can’t ‘earn its keep’, justify its cost, and create a return on investment, then it would be very questionable whether it has a place on you ranch.
Want to do your own research on whether Riomax® can earn its keep, and on other factors that contribute to a good mineral program? Visit Livestock Nutrition 101, the Riomax® Learning Center.