British Calf Rearing – May 2021
Options for male calf rearing in 2021
Achieving profitable returns from bull calf rearing is at the forefront of most dairy farmers minds after the release of the new Red Tractor dairy scheme standard for autumn 2021.
The standard has been created to ensure all calves are reared with care and ultimately eliminating the euthanasia of calves by 2023. For some farmers, the new standard mean there are greater numbers of calves on the farm and this can result in increased management challenges and also disease burdens which lead to higher input costs. We also need to ensure the heifer calves are not adversely affected by the increase in calves reared.
Bonanza Calf Nutrition advises identifying key rearing objectives as the start point. These should include:
- Use of transition milk to help develop a calf’s immune and digestive systems
- Protection against disease
- Reducing stressors
- Evaluating how feeding between 600-700g of milk replacer a day can be more effective than feeding higher amounts
Mollie Phipps, of Bonanza Calf Nutrition, says first and foremost, there should be no skimping on bull calf nutrition – they will need 10% of their birth weight of good quality colostrum ideally within the first two hours of life.