Dairy

Supporting the next generation

By Country News

Young stock are seen as the greatest value asset for the future of any dairy herd.

Extensive research has shown that the plane of nutrition that calves receive during the first months of their lives significantly affects the milking potential of the animal and how well they perform within the herd.

Therefore, setting up your future milkers right is paramount.

The aim of any good calf rearing program is to ensure that all calves are healthy and perform well over the course of their lives within the herd.

One of the most important management factors to meet this is to provide calves with early and adequate high quality colostrum.

The next challenge then is to assist newborn calves to transition from milk to solid feed smoothly.

Apart from it being more economical to get them on dry starter feed as soon as possible, it also reduces labour costs; encourages the steady development of the rumen; ensures fewer setbacks at weaning; and improves growth rates and milk production down the line.

Rex James Stockfeed aims to help grow better calves with its range of scientifically-formulated starter feeds suited for every stage during this period.

The company says benefits of its starter feeds include:

They are manufactured from only plant-based natural ingredients, hence providing the texture and sufficient stimulation for optimum rumen development.

Propionate and butyrate, both volatile fatty acids (VFAs), are the two major breakdown products of grain and grain-based concentrates that contribute to the papillae development.

Molasses has been recently introduced into the starter feeds, further enhancing its palatability, which makes the introduction to solid feed easy and maintains a high feed intake.

These feeds are formulated to a 20 per cent crude protein (CP) from superior natural protein sources for optimal growth and development; and a 12.8 megajoules of ME (metabolisable energy)/kg of dry matter (DM) supplied as a balanced starch profile to drive rumen development, and provide ample energy for growth.

Contains Bovatec to aid in coccidiosis control and improve feed conversion efficiency.

Enriched with a high specification vitamin and mineral premix to ensure healthy calves and to provide immune system support during this stressful period.

Weaning calves

Rex James Stockfeed said it made economical sense to wean calves as soon as possible due to the lowered feed costs, labour costs and incidence of ill health.

Dry feed is cheaper and less labour intensive to provide, therefore it makes economical sense to encourage growth of a well-developed and functioning rumen as quickly as possible.

The benefits of providing consistent and correct nutrition to all claves are steady development of the rumen, better growth rates, less setback at weaning and improved milk production in the future.

The aim of any good calf rearing program is to ensure that all calves are healthy and productive over the course of their lives in the herd.

Providing calves with good quality colostrum straight after birth gets them off to a great start.

Milk provides them with the main source of nutrients for the newborn calf.

The next challenge is to help the animal make a smooth transition from mainly a drinker to an eater, where they will gain more of their nutrients from solid feed.

Consumption of starter feed is critical for the development of an active, functioning rumen.

The most critical period of a calf’s life, where you can make significant changes to them as future milkers, is weeks two to four.

Rex James Calf Starter is a specifically formulated premium blend that provides a nutritional balance of nutrients for the transition period from milk to solid feed.

It has been formulated for calves up to 12 weeks of age.