How combination of products ‘paid dividends’ for calf rearing on Co. Roscommon farm

As the immanent start of calving 2021 is upon us, Auctus is at hand to support farmers in all aspects of calf rearing.

Auctus high-quality calf rearing products include:

  • Calf Guardian: An Immune system kick start tube administered as soon as the calf is born;
  • Calf & Lamb Superstart: High Energy complementary colostrum feed;
  • First Fibre: Complete fibre mix to vastly improve rumen development;
  • Beef Performer: A uniquely formulated feed of chelated trace elements, vitamins, minerals and amino acids given at weaning to ensure a smooth transition to a grass diet.

These products are formulated with calf health and performance to the fore. They are in addition to the market leading range of calf milk replacers Auctus has on the market, which are:

2 reference farms

Apart from supplying high-quality products, the Auctus team supports a huge number of farmers throughout Ireland in relation to calf management, husbandry, diagnosis of health issues and monitoring calf performance.

On an on-going basis, Auctus uses two reference farms for monitoring product performance, health status and measuring calf weight gains to exceed targets.

Firstly, Brian Geraghty, Auctus business development manager, farms in Dysart, Co. Roscommon, covering the West of Ireland and Donegal, is part of the Thrive – Dairy calf-to-beef programme.

Last spring, Brian reared 92 Aberdeen Angus heifer calves. They arrived on the farm from 10 days to three weeks old. All calves were vaccinated against pneumonia and clostridial diseases in the days after arrival.

The calves were reared outdoors on Champion calf milk replacer fed once a day. There was a long dry spell in spring last year and once the calves had been vaccinated, they went out onto grass and luckily, didn’t have to come back inside at any stage.

Champion was fed once a day at a rate of 650 grams in 3L of water and mixed in a 30-teat compartment feeder towed behind a quad. First Fibre was given to the animals to make sure the fibre requirements of the calves were satisfied as the grass paddocks were of a leafy sward. The combination paid dividends in terms of their health status.

The heifers were weaned at 12 weeks-of-age, weighed and recorded through the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) website for verification. An average daily live weight gain of 900 grams per day was recorded with zero mortality.

Secondly, on the Auctus calf rearing unit in Co. Cavan, last spring 41 calves were reared, mixed between contract rearing and bought in heifers. The calves were predominately Friesian heifers with four bulls. Six Aberdeen Angus heifers and three Aberdeen Angus bulls made up the remainder.

Calves were reared on Champion with added Lung Guard milk replacer fed through a computerised feeder. Calves arrived from two-to-three weeks old, weighed and collared. The vaccination programme entailed of a vaccine for clostridial disease, two injections, one month apart for viral pneumonia and two blackleg shots six weeks apart.

Champion with added Lung Guard was fed at a rate of 125 grams per litre on a 70-day programme. The feed curve can be seen in figure 1 (below). First Fibre was given as a fibre source for calves to maximise rumen development to push meal intakes.

Figure 1

The calves were weaned at 12 weeks-of-age, weighed and administered 35ml of Beef Performer, then returned to their pen for a further week, fed on concentrate and First Fibre. At 13 weeks, the calves were weighed again and let out onto grass.

The average daily live weight gain recorder was 955 grams per day with zero mortality.

Further information

For further information on any of the products mentioned or to discuss any aspect of the calf rearing systems, please do not hesitate to contact Auctus through e-mail at: [email protected]; or phone: 00353-43-6683200; or online at: www.auctus.ie.

For your local business development manager, please contact: