Monday, April 22, 2024

Calf milk replacer gains mount up

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A Waikato dairy farming operation found it more financially viable to use CMRs instead of milk in the vat.
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A Waikato dairy farmer says she has been pleasantly surprised with how well her calves have grown from using calf milk power instead of vat milk.

Up until last year, the Gores, who run 480 cows on their 170-hectare farm in Hinuera, had continued to do what they had always done when it came to feeding their young calves by feeding them milk from the vat.

Lucy Gore says it was financially better to leave the milk in the vat and send it to the factory rather than take it out and feed it to the calves.

The economics may have got them to consider calf milk replacers (CMR), but their experience with calf feeding this year has changed their perspective on its other merits. 

“We’ve always had the mindset of calves doing better from the milk straight out of the vat.

 “But we were pleasantly surprised and proven wrong that calf milk powder can actually do just as well.”

Their chosen calf milk replacer, Ancalf, is almost identical to the raw whole milk and it contains a coccidiostat, as well as the vitamins and the minerals, she says.

 “I’d say it’s as good as whole milk. To be honest, I was probably expecting rougher coats and not filling out as well in terms of the body having good cover. Comparing weights from this year to last year, we’re sitting around the same weight gains.” 

Ancalf is a casein-rich CMR that is similar to the composition of natural whole milk. 

“I spoke to some farming friends using Ancalf, they said they had really good results from it, and the casein that’s in the Ancalf is really good for curding.” 

NZAgbiz also advised the Gores on feeding rates and how to transition the calves onto the CMR.

“We were really impressed that it’s easy to mix as well.” 

This article first appeared in our sister publication, Dairy Farmer.

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