Transformula helping to transform calf rearing
There is increasing realisation that young calves need a different milk from older calves. Cows naturally produce transition milk after colostrum and this offers baby calves more protection and better nutrition. This is the reason Transformula, the only baby milk for baby calves is proving so popular on dairy farm as it designed to replace transition milk.
Maurice & Zoe Davey of East Kimber Farm, Northlew, Devon run the pedigree ‘Marwin’ herd of Holstein Friesians, getting 10,000 litres milk sold per cow from the 115 cow herd. Their milk from forage is all from a grass based silage diet.
Use of sex semen on 60% of the herd has led to an increase in numbers reared and increased pressure on the calving facilities and calf housing.
After trying several milk powder products Zoe Davey talked to Andy Berry of Launceston based, Berry’s Agriculture at the local Holsworthy market. Initially the conversation was about various protein sources in milk powder under the Shine Milk Powder range.
Stuart Fry from Bonanza Calf Nutrition then visited the farm and discussed further in depth the different protein sources found in milk powder. Both skim milk and whey proteins are much more digestible than vegetable proteins for young calves. The type of feeding programme appropriate for the high genetic merit calves on the farm was also discussed. Maurice & Zoe decided to give TRANSFORMULA powder a trial.
The calves get 4 litres of refractometer tested colostrum (above 22 on the reading) within 1 to 3 hours of birth followed 24 hours later by 375 grams of TRANSFORMULA twice a day (150 grams/litre x 2.5 litres twice daily). At approximately 10 days old calves move over to SHINE TWICE A DAY which is a Skim based product and the feed rate is increased to 900 grams/calf/day.
Zoe says “We have been on the system for 6 months now and there has been a significant drop in calf mortality. A combination of Andy Berry’s enthusiasm and passion for rearing calves and some sound advice from Bonanza Calf Nutrition persuaded us to try it; results have persuaded us to stay with-it”.
Maurice says ‘calving at 24 months at a good size (600kgs) is important, you have to decide that the heifer will calve then the day it is born’.
Zoe says ‘we still get scours, mainly caused by Cryptosporidium, but whereas in the past calves would scour and occasionally die now they scour less and live’.
Stuart Fry of Bonanza Calf Nutrition says ‘although it is important to get 700 grams+ of TRANSFORMULA into 35/40kgs a Holstein calf to maximise the effect of the health promoting formulation, attention to detail and hygiene plus good management are equally important to get the calves off to a good start’.
He explained that Transformula has replaced pasteurised transition milk on some farms as it is far more convenient and cost wise most farmers find it actually saves time and money and transforms their calf rearing.