If you’ve ever used lick tubs before, you might have encountered some problems associated with them. Or maybe you’ve contemplated using tubs, but wondered what the problems were. Whatever the case, tubs aren’t perfect, and we’ll be the first to admit it.
We’re not saying these problems are unfixable. But we do want to make sure you are aware of what could happen, and what can be done to overcome these potential issues.
In this article, we will be specifically discussing problems with Riomax® tubs. We’re going to give you an honest evaluation of them - because we’d rather you find out about potential problems before you buy the tub. It’s never fun to get unwanted surprises after your hard-earned money is already spent.
But before we dive in... what, why, and who is Riomax®?
Simply put, Riomax® is a herd health program designed to optimize herd performance. We are rancher-centric and rancher-driven. We’re all about helping you see results, regardless of if it’s with our products or not. We’re not here to just sell you a product if it’s not a great fit for you.
Our goal is to educate you and answer any questions about livestock nutrition.
Now for the problems. Here are the three problems you might have when using Riomax® cattle lick tubs.
- Consumption Issues
- Results Aren’t Immediate
Problem #1: Consumption Issues
No one likes consumption problems. They’re a pain, they’re an unneeded worry, and they’re usually expensive.
Consumption issues vary - depending on location, climate, products, and different times of the year. Examples of these will be explained further below.
Although cows self-regulate on Riomax® (they adjust their intake of the Riomax® product), there are times when cows either over or under consume, causing unwanted hassle for you, the rancher.
There are three main reasons that cows are likely to over-consume. Below, we will discuss these causes, and provide you with ways that you can avoid each of these problems.
Poor Quality Forage
Cows are most likely to over-consume when they are on a poor quality forage.
They feel like they are not getting the level of nutrients they need from the grass, hay, or whatever the forage may be. To balance this, they turn to tubs and consume more than usual.
It is important to note that while this cause of overconsumption can happen, it is usually not a big issue, especially on a Riomax® program. Because Riomax® is designed to be a low consumption tub, cows generally won’t go over ⅓ pound - even on poor-quality forage.
Another potential cause of overconsumption is cattle craving salt. It is intended for salt to be fed free-choice along with the Riomax® tubs. The Riomax® formulas typically do not contain any salt, but some of the ingredients have a slightly salty taste. As a result, cattle that are salt-deficient normally consume more of the tubs. By consistently feeding free-choice salt, this problem can be avoided. Block salt is commonly used, but if cattle are still overconsuming it is recommended to provide loose salt. Whether it is in addition to, or instead of the blocks, loose salt is easier for cows to eat and will usually lower consumption of the Riomax® tubs.
The third cause of overconsumption on Riomax® tubs is herd size. We’ve found that when tubs are put out to very small herds (under 50 head), cows are more likely to overconsume. This is because there simply is too much tub (surface area) for the number of cows. A good rule of thumb to follow is one lick tub per 50 head of cows.
One way to reduce overconsumption is to remove some tubs, which reduces the amount available to cows. You can also try placing tubs in spots where cows are less likely to congregate. Placing a salt block on top of the tub can also be beneficial, as it decreases the surface area for licking.
Under consumption is less of a worry than overconsumption, but it can still happen.
Under consumption is most common in the spring and early summer when forages are of high quality, and full of nutrients. When grass is green and hay is nutrient-dense, it is normal for the cattle to get more of their nutrition from the grass, and in turn, eat less of the tub. If the consumption falls below an ⅛ lb/hd/day make sure to set out extra tubs and locate them where the cattle frequent to make sure they have unlimited access to the product.
Cold weather can also be a cause of underconsumption. If hard-cooked tubs are in very cold or freezing weather, cattle can have a hard time consuming an adequate amount of the tub.
If you feel consumption is getting too low, we would suggest putting a salt block on top of the tub (yes, salt can be used to help get consumption both up and down!). When salt is placed on the tub it offers another reason for cattle to stop and as a result will usually help to increase the time they spend on the tub and thus increase consumption. Salt also works well to help melt any ice that may form on the top of the tub.
Another solution is to add additional tubs as needed; in loafing areas, wind-break areas, or other areas where cattle are typically fed. This usually does a great job of drawing cattle to the tub if they need to be consuming more of it.
How To Protect Yourself From Consumption Issues: COSTGUARD® Guarantee
If consumption goes above ⅓ pound per head per day, or .43 pound for smaller groups because consumption is expected to be higher, Riomax® has a consumption guarantee, which completely takes the risk off your shoulders.
If you have used our tubs according to the user’s guide, and still experience consumption issues, we will reimburse you with additional product (and one of our team will discuss with you ways to prevent consumption issues in the future). We have a promise that your cows will not consume over ⅓ pound, and we stick by it.
Problem #2: Riomax® Is Expensive!
Did you know Riomax® tubs are the highest priced tub (upfront) on the market? It’s no surprise that seeing the price tag could quickly make you assume it’s too expensive for you.
We understand that high prices are not particularly appealing - especially if you’re already running tight margins.
But that’s the very reason we took a different approach. Sure, the upfront cost is what you see on the surface, but it is not your real cost. If you take a step back, your daily cost encompasses far more. It enables you to calculate your total cost in a bigger picture.
Cost Per Head Per Day
Your true mineral cost - where the rubber meets the road - is your cost per head per day. Cost per head per day is something that any mineral program can be measured by, but it is often overlooked. This is your true cost at the end of the day, the month, or the year.
So, yes. Riomax® tubs have a much higher upfront cost. But when you calculate your cost per head per day, Riomax® comes in at a very similar cost, if not cheaper than the majority of lick tubs on the market. How about some specifics? The typical price range of Riomax® is between 22 and 57 cents per head per day. That’s calculated from feeding between ⅛ and ⅓ pound per head per day, which is our recommended range.
Other tubs on the market suggest feeding between 1/2 and 2 pounds per head per day. This typically equates out to a cost per head per day of anywhere from 30 cents up to 1 dollar per head per day!
Do you feed hay throughout the winter (and/or summer)? If so, you probably know that the cost of hay can add up.
Included in every Riomax product is something called Nutrizorb. Nutrizorb is a 19-component digestion package that is designed to extract maximum nutrients out of your forages.
So how does this relate to hay savings?
By extracting more out of every mouthful, every bale, and every acre, you are utilizing your forages to their full potential, which means that you don’t go through as much of them. Ranchers have been able to see up to a 30% decrease in hay/forage savings by using Riomax.
At Riomax®, we’ve thought a lot about how to provide ranchers with the best product at an affordable cost. If you don’t currently track your cost per head per day or forage utilization, we’d strongly encourage you to do so. If you don’t see the value in measuring cost this way, well then maybe Riomax® isn’t a fit for you.
Problem #3: Results Aren’t Immediate
We get it. You want results, and you want results now.
The truth is, Riomax® is not a program that gives you its full results instantly. Because we focus on a longer-term solution, our products are not often going to give you results within the first week. In fact, may only start seeing a few differences within the first month.
So what results can you see? And when?
Some of the first noticeable differences you may see after starting on a Riomax® program is haircoat and manure consistency. Haircoats will begin to look smoother and shinier, and manure consistency will look smoother. Those are the first telltale differences, and because they are tangible changes within the cow, it’s just not going to happen instantly. Typically these first changes of shinier haircoat, better forage breakdown noticeable in the appearance of the manure, and even cows that are more content are all noticeable only after approximately 2-4 weeks.
As the weeks turn into months, you should begin to see differences in body score, fertility, weaning weights, forage savings, and ultimately, a positive impact on your bottom line. Undoubtedly, this leads to more return on investment. Of course, these are bigger-picture differences, and they develop slowly. For example, fetal programming continuously impacts results in your cow herd for five, ten, fifteen years and even further down the road. Like many things, what you invest today will allow you to reap the benefits of tomorrow.
The good news is, the longer you use Riomax®, the more results you will see. We call them compounding results because they continue to build up as the cows’ overall health steadily improves. Now, this isn’t just a sales pitch to get you to use Riomax® for longer. Time after time, we’ve proven that ranchers who use Riomax® the longest have the best results. Check out these case studies to hear from long-time Riomax® users.
Is Riomax® A Fit For You?
We addressed these three problems with Riomax® tubs because we think you deserve to know not only the good about our products, but also the potential issues they can cause. We realize that no tub is perfect for everyone.
That being said, if you think these possible problems are something that you can overcome, we’d love to work with you! Our friendly team is passionate about connecting with ranchers and making differences on ranches across the nation.