Calves and farm-input costs reap benefits of Vitulix feed block
A new feed block, designed to underpin the health and performance of calves at grass, can halve the cost of delivering important minerals and vitamins.
Although grass contains minerals and vitamins, there are multiple reasons why calves struggle to get the required intake when they are grazing. These include: weather conditions; changing quality of grass through the season; grassland management; and reseeding.
Uniblock has developed Vitulix to fill that breach and to provide calves with the elements which aren’t supplied by grass.
Not only does it provide all the necessary protected minerals and vitamins a calf needs for good health at grass and a high ME (metabolisable energy) value of 14MJ/kg of dry matter (DM), but it can work out at half the cost of providing these through meal.
If Vitulix is placed beside a water source to allow for the best possible intakes, calves will consume the recommended 120-150g daily at a cost of approximately 13-16c/head, which works out at €20-€25/calf in the 153 days from June to October.
Dr. Amanda Dunn of Uniblock said: “If calves were fed 1kg of meal/head/day; this would work out at around 30c/day, assuming a price of €300/t. By feeding this over the same 153 day period, that would cost €45/calf.
“By introducing Vitulix, farmers could halve their feed costs and reap the benefits of the protected minerals, vitamins and feed value supplied in the feed lick,’’ she explained.
On many farms, grazing calves are supplemented with 1-2kg of meal. If the grass quality is good, they might not consume all the meal. This means it is not only wasted, but the calves might not be getting all their nutritional requirements.
Vitulix is accessible to calves 24/7, so they have a free choice as to when and how much they consume.
“Vitulix not only provides all the protected minerals and vitamins, it also includes 25% more energy than bagged feed, as it has a high ME value of 14MJ/kg of DM; this covers the calves for feeding when grass quality isn’t at its best.’’
Many farmers who feed meal at grass often withdraw it from June onwards. This would be a good point to introduce Vitulix as the grass mineral status will be decreasing at that point.
“Symptoms of trace element deficiencies may not always be visible to the farmer, but even the slightest deficiency can result in a significant reduction in performance and production,’’ she explained.
- Protein supplied by soyabean meal;
- Contains a proportion of selenised yeast, the most effective source of selenium for improving calves’ immune status and muscle development, while reducing risks of muscular deficiencies;
- Chelated zinc for supporting the immune system and improving skin and hoof health;
- Three different sources of copper included, especially important for weaned calves.
For more information on Vitulix, just click here