Heifer rearing is the second-highest cost for dairy farmers. NWF Agriculture has found great success in implementing the LifeStart programme alongside the 5 critical control points (The 5C’s).
Only high-quality colostrum should be fed, containing at least 50g of lgG per litre. 10% of calf body weight (approx. 4 litres of colostrum for the average Holstein Fresian Calf) should be fed as soon as possible after birth, at the latest, 6 hours after birth. Farmers should continue to feed colostrum for the 3-4 days, before moving on to Calf Milk Replacer or whole milk.
Rearing objectives must be planned and thought out in order to decide which liquid feed solution will be both the most cost-effective and easiest to manage, whilst meeting the necessary nutritional needs for optimal growth.
Comfort, Cleanliness & Consistency
It is essential that their environment is kept comfortable, with plenty of lying space, air and ventilation. Have well-though-out structured and more importantly, consistent hygiene protocols allow farmers to maximise calf health.
Consistency is an often overlooked aspect of calf rearing, which can greatly improve performance for little to no cost. Proper calf management should be as consistent as possible, calves thrive on routine; so implement simple and clear protocols that ensure calves are treated consistently day in day out; even when different people are in charge of calf management.
‘Only the correct combination of appropriate management and quality nutrition will optimise performance.’ Abbi England, NWF Technical Manager.
For more information on the LifeStart programme or our range of Calf Milk Replacers, contact your local NWF Sales Specialist or call 0800 756 2787 for the NWF Technical Services.