Preparing your calf for lifetime production

Preparing your calf for lifetime production

1 July 2020

Getting calves onto the right kind of nutrient-dense natural fibre in the first week of their lives helps to take them from total milk reliance to developing their full potential on pasture.

FiberGain® is a high-energy calf feed, including a combination of fresh-cut lucerne and fresh-kibbled Barley, and designed to give calves the best possible start. Key vitamins and minerals are added to the fibre for healthier and more productive calves, along with molasses, which is irresistible to calves.

Every day counts when it comes to getting calves off to a good start, which is why the inclusion of FiberGain in their diet helps. Introducing quality digestible fibre early will encourage faster rumen and papillae development, allowing calves to transition and develop on to grass much faster.

Development of the rumen is crucial to a calf’s productivity. It is the engine that sets them up for life on the paddock. Maximum rumen development occurs between four and 10 weeks, and this is where fibre, such as that found in FiberGain, brings the maximum benefit. By feeding fibre during this time, the calf is following a natural path of development with an easily digested fibre that lays down gut health for the remainder of the animal’s life.

Trials showed greater papillae development in Fiber Fresh-reared calves when compared to calves reared on a meal/milk ration. This means a significantly increased nutrient absorption surface area for Fiber Fresh-reared calves (McCoard et al, 2019). The likes of straw or hay simply do not provide the same type of nutritional value. They only serve to fill up the rumen, taking away valuable space for energy and protein-rich feeds essential for maximum calf growth.

Calves should be introduced to FiberGain as early as possible, while they are still on milk.

They will initially only consume small quantities, but early adaption to the taste and texture allows them to gear up for higher intakes. As a guide, each calf will be eating about two kilogrammes a day of FiberGain (as fed), as weaning approaches.

Better calf development will lead to more productive replacements. That means cost savings for the farmer but just as importantly, it leads to better long-term results – especially in pasture-based systems – while calves will also better utilise solid feeds more rapidly.

Fiber Fresh forage feed products are all completely natural, so you know your calves are not being fed any antibiotics or preservatives that may have negative side effects. Fiber Fresh Calf feeds do not contain the coccidiostat ionophore Monensin; thus other measures to manage coccidiosis might be required, and these options will depend on the individual situation on your farm.

Fiber Fresh has created an exclusive Controlled Fermentation Process retaining more than 90 percent of the original value of nutrients from the field. Every bag is consistent in nutrient value and metabolisable energy (ME) for optimal health and performance.

Over the course of 12 weeks, a Fiber Fresh-reared calf consumes approximately 1.5 to two bags of FiberGain.

For further information, contact your Farm Source TSR or the friendly team at your local Farm Source store.

Article supplied by Fiber Fresh