Lancashire clients will be receiving their updated growth and benchmarking reports in the new year and Molly highlights two cases where improvements have had a direct impact on calf growth rates – and bumped them up the rankings!
One of the advantageous parts of weighing your calves is being able to produce a report that the team can look back on. This gives us an opportunity to see what individuals have achieved and if changes throughout the year have affected their daily live weight gain (DLWG). We all strive to reach the highest DLWG possible throughout the year and will try our upmost to achieve this in order to get our heifers calves down as soon as possible, but sometimes small but important things get forgotten at challenging times of the year, for example, silage season.
Over the last year we have seen some considerable changes in growths as our farms battle for the top benchmarking place in Lancs, I thought I would share
a couple of these changes with you and how they have had a positive impact…
A change in housing (Farm A)
Having a specially designed shed for calves improved farm A’s average growth rates by nearly 0.3Kg per day from 2019 – 2020. Some of the key features of the shed include a proctor fan, good drainage, a gale break, weigh scales, kitchen and many more.
One of the most important features for me is the kitchen that is only used for calves, this makes it incredibly easy to keep everything calf related clean and free of bacteria to make sure they maintain a healthy living area and avoid cross-contamination.
Good floor drainage is another essential feature within the calf shed to remove the disease transmission risk from dirty water contaminated with urine and faeces and to avoid wet floor surfaces contributing to increased humidity within the calf shed air environment.
Improved cleanliness and calf management (Farm B)
Farm B have improved their DLWG by 0.1Kg from 2020 – 2021. They have done this by making small changes to their calf management routine. One of the changes they have made after having scour problems is vaccinating cows for salmonella, after finding it in the calves. Calves are born with no antibodies; all antibodies are passed through the mother’s colostrum. The cows are vaccinated so that they can produce specific antibodies for certain diseases that can be passed through the colostrum and onto the calves at that vital first feed. Another positive thing farm B have done is selling unvaccinated beef calves at a young age so that they are not mixing vaccinated and unvaccinated calves. General day to day cleaning has also been improved by just washing calf buckets after each use following on-farm protocols, helping to stop the spread of disease.
Lancs farms look out for your upto- date growth and benchmarking report in the new year. If you would like to know where you are on the benchmarking graph or would like to know your farms average DLGW get in touch with your Tech Team!