So, you are trying to make a well-informed decision on which lick tubs to use. The thought running through your mind is, no doubt, "which is the best lick tub?"
Ranchers are asking on a daily basis: “What is the best lick tub? What is the worst lick tub?” Like anything in life, there are simply too many options to be able to answer that question straight out. There are different brands, different operations, different prices, different benefits… the list goes on, but you get the point. The thing is, most companies aren’t going to publish all the different brands of tubs on their website, because they want to focus on their own brand (fair enough, right?). At the same time, companies certainly aren’t going to post on their website “we are the worst!” And if they wrote, “we are the best”, that might cause a bit of skepticism.
To answer this question, what is the best lick tub, we’re going to flip it around. We're not going to tell you what we think. Instead, we’re asking you: what are you trying to get done? That is going to generate a variety of answers. But, it means that if we have two different brands of lick tubs, one might be good for one rancher, while the other one is better for the other rancher.
Let’s go over an example to put this in perspective. Rancher Joe has a pickup that he drives around town in; he does very few miles. He wants to buy new tires for his pickup, and wonders which kind is best. He wants something fairly middle-of-the-road and economical. Something that makes sense for the few miles he does. Therefore, the best tire for Rancher Joe is an average one that isn’t the highest quality, but it also won’t break the bank.
Now, on the other hand, Rancher Ralph has 100 pickups. He runs a large operation and drives all over the country doing thousands of miles. When Rancher Ralph needs new tires, he is going to need a slightly different type of tire than Rancher Joe. Because of all the miles he does, he needs tires that are going to give him the most miles and the lowest cost per mile. Suddenly, the best option for him is a better quality tire that has better performance and a longer life. Sure, it may be more expensive up front, but in the long run, it makes sense for him because the tires will last longer.
Back to lick tubs...
The point here is simple. The best product for you is entirely relative to what you are trying to get out of it. To switch it back to lick tub language, it is hard for us to answer whether Crystalyx, SmartLic, Vitalix, SweetPro, Purina or VitaFerm is the best lick tub. It all depends on your goals and objectives. Now, if you are a hobby farmer; you have a handful of cows, and you simply need an inexpensive product that will take care of your animals, we’re going to assume that one of the above-mentioned brands will be ideal for you. Contrarily, if you are a rancher running your operation like a business and it’s your sole-income, there may be a better solution for you. You need something that is going to allow for minimum inputs and maximum outputs, and move that needle.
So what is the best lick tub for me?
We want to make sure you are choosing the best lick tub for your situation in a totally unbiased manner. To simplify it just one step further, we’ve broken down the lick tub industry into 3 tiers, so you can decipher exactly where you fit, and ultimately, what the very best lick tub for you is!
TIER 1: HOBBY FARMERS
The first group encompasses those of you who have a handful of cows, but it's mainly a hobby. In other words, you have an off-farm income, but you still need to take care of the few animals you have. The best brands of lick tubs for you include, but are not limited to, Crystalyx and SmartLic because they get the job done.
TIER 2: CONVENTIONAL OPERATIONS
The second tier includes the operations that are fairly mainstream and middle-of-the-road. While your ranch may be your main source of income, you are less progressive and numbers-driven. The lick tubs we would recommend in this type of situation are brands including SweetPro, Vitalix, SmartLic, and Crystalyx.
TIER 3: PROGRESSIVE RANCHERS
Lastly, we have the larger progressive operations. These medium to large producers are very numbers and results driven. You guys run your ranches like a business, and you need the most bang for your buck. We believe the best lick tubs for you progressive ranchers are brands such as Vitafirm, Purina, and Riomax®.
Editor's Note: Now, you might be wondering. Why did we choose to fit in that third tier? That is a great question, because as a family business we could have chosen any of the three tiers to operate in. We are, and always have been, rancher-centric and results-driven. We are passionate about helping drive the success and sustainability of the ranching industry, and hence, we made a very deliberate and conscious decision to play in the tier three space. Not to say the other tiers are not right for other companies and other lick tub brands, they are just not right for us.
With that in mind, if you feel as though Riomax® may be a fit for you, we’re happy to hear it! We’d love to help you positively impact your economic model.