Attention to Detail and Observation key to Profitable Calf Rearing

July 7, 2020

Attention to Detail and Observation key to Profitable Calf Rearing

Nutritech Area Managers were delighted to have the opportunity to listen to Karen Fraser (formerly of Rakaia Island) and now NRM’s Calf & Nutrition Specialist give her opinions on practical calf rearing during the lockdown.

Here are some of her take home tips:

  • Good calf rearing starts with mum, at mating, then dry off and finally in the last 3 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Water! Important to have clean water troughs. It is the forgotten nutrient!
  • Farmers should have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for colostrum collection, so everyone understands what is required to be done.
  • Observation. Observation. Observation. Take the time to use your husbandry skills and observe the calves before rushing in.
  • Feed less but more often where possible

We would like to say a very big thank you to Karen – we all learnt a lot during the session.

Karen Fraser and John Ellis are big fans of DanCalf®Gold.

John Ellis – on their 240ha Arable and Rearing Operation near Ashburton.

John Ellis reared 150 calves on a combination of Nutritech DanCalf® Gold and a high-quality Calf Milk Replacer (CMR). His first experience with DanCalf® Gold was positive in every way: it was simple to use and the calves were healthier than in past seasons.

John and his wife Lucy are Farm Owners at Springwood Farm, near Ashburton. On approximately 240 ha of flat country they grow a range of seed crops and cereals year-round. They also rear around 150 beef calves and 2,500 store lambs.

John and Lucy have reared calves for the last seven years. “Rearing clean and healthy calves has always been our main objective,” says John. “Last year, I was looking for a product that would help with gut health and came across DanCalf® Gold.

“Based on the advice we got from the team, it appeared good, simple to implement and cost-effective in the long term, so we gave it a go.”
DanCalf® Gold is a well-rounded supplement offering calves superior gut and immune development to help them reach their full genetic potential. It contains probiotics, a prebiotic, essential vitamins and trace minerals and a coccidiostat.

A key ingredient is Levucell® SB live yeast, a probiotic with the capacity to bind pathogens, neutralise toxins, stimulate beneficial bacteria and immune response, all of which improve calf growth.

Nutritech Area Manager, Catherine Sharpin recommends DanCalf® Gold to every calf rearer. “Calves are born with little immunity,” she explains. “DanCalf® Gold flushes the digestive tract with many good bacteria that out-compete the bad bacteria.

“Anyone feeding whole milk or milk powder that doesn’t contain a coccidiostat should consider using DanCalf® Gold,” Catherine continues. “DanCalf® Gold contains Bovatec®, which has proven anticoccidial action and is safe to use in combination with calf meal that also contains a coccidiostat.

“It also provides calves with all the vitamins and minerals they need especially in the first four weeks of life which is the crucial time for shaping future growth and productivity of these animals.”

John fed his calves DanCalf® Gold with every milk feed, mixing in 5 g per head, from the time they arrive on the farm (at about four days old) right through to weaning at 100 kg.

“Our calves were altogether healthier,” says John. “They were a lot cleaner and we had no scouring at all. It’s so easy to add DanCalf® Gold when we’re mixing the milk, there’s no wastage because the calves drink every drop. We will definitely use DanCalf® Gold again this season, it makes good sense.”

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