Attention to detail and good nutrition key to calf rearing success
Calves at a Warwickshire dairy farm are achieving their potential thanks to good nutrition and exceptional rearing protocols.
Peter Royle and his sons, Mark and James, operate an all-year round calving system with 330 Holstein cows. Cows are milked either through a robot or through a conventional parlour, averaging 11,200 litres/year with milk supplied to Tesco via Arla.
Sexed semen is used across the herd and for cows inseminated to beef sires the emphasis is on the British Blue. All calves are reared, either as dairy heifer replacements for calving at two years, or as beef animals. On average, one calf is born every day, resulting in 50-60 calves being reared on milk at any one time.
Calves are initially reared on the dairy farm where they are born, before being transported at 10 days old to the rearing unit. After receiving the dam’s transition milk, calves are introduced to Transformula, a transition milk replacer designed for use after colostrum feeding. It is made with low heat skim milk and buttermilk along with five plant oils and whey protein, and is easily digested by the baby calf.