Hitting growth targets starts with calf nutrition

Hitting growth targets starts with calf nutrition

1 June 2017

The right diet gives calves the best start in life, especially when raising replacements for your herd.

DairyNZ notes in their June 2015 Technical Series, “for each one per cent below the heifer’s target calving liveweight, milksolids (MS) production was approximately two kilograms (kg) less. If this lower milk production continues for five lactations, it would equate to a loss of over $650 per heifer over her lifetime.”1

Agrifeeds recommends you keep your calves on track to reach their full production potential by complementing pasture with Grower 16 finisher feed.

A good quality and cost-effective feed with 16% protein, Grower 16 is well-suited to weaned calves weighing 70kg to 80kg which have been reared on a quality calf starter.

It’s highly palatable and includes molasses, sweeteners and flavours for improved taste and therefore, improved consumption by calves.

The live yeast in Grower 16 improves dry matter and fibre digestibility, increasing energy supply for the growing animals. Grower 16 also contains safe starch levels so it’s suitable for ad lib feeding.

Agrifeeds says feeding this product will help maintain growth rates and meet calf target weights later in the year when grass quality and supply is short.

Farmers should start by introducing Grower 16 with straw or fibre to avoid gorging and make sure the calves have access to clean, fresh water.

“Because the product contains Bovatec, it should only be fed to weaned calves and kept away from dogs and horses,” Agrifeeds cautions.

Once calves have reached 100kg to 120kg they can transition to PKExtra 20 or PKExtra 30, a pre-mixed precision blend of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) and molasses.

This can be introduced slowly at about 500g per heifer per day, increasing to a maximum of four kg to six kg per heifer a day.

Morrinsville farmer Robbie Cookson says, given the results he’s had with his heifers, he’d recommend Grower 16 and PKExtra 30 to anyone. He farms about 500 cows on 150ha near the Paeroa Tahuna road.

In the time he’s been using the two feeds, he’s seen an average growth rate of one kg per heifer per day with the latest weigh showing an average weight of 221.7kg at eight months.

“The palatability, growth rates and value of these products make them worth their weight in gold. I transitioned the calves from Grower 16 to PKExtra and, since Christmas, onto straight PKE,” Cookson says.

1.Dairy NZ Technical Series, June 2015, page 4, (https://www.dairynz.co.nz/publications/technical-series/technical-series-june-2015/).

To find out more about the Agrifeeds Grower calf feed range, contact your local Agrifeeds animal nutrition sales representative or call 0800 424 743.

Article supplied by Agrifeeds