What makes a good dual milk replacer?
Peadar, Peter and John Osborne milk a 300-cow autumn and spring-calving herd, alongside rearing and finishing 120 bull and heifer calves each year in Whitestown, Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow.
Breeding their own dairy replacements and producing quality stock for finishing are key to the profitability of the Osborne’s farm.
Peter recognises that the early months are fundamental when determining the longer-term performance of their stock and therefore feeding a good-quality milk replacer is key.
We have tried many milk replacers over the years, and it would become obvious that we just weren’t getting the response we wanted from them.
“We would never be ones to look for the cheapest on the market and certain characteristics are important to us when choosing a milk replacer.
“We look for a skim-based product that is well priced with a protein level that promotes early growth,” explained Peter.
Quinns of Baltinglass Technical Sales Advisor, Ciaran Murphy, first introduced the Osbornes to ProviMilk Premium two years ago. According to Peter, the benefits they see from it are like no other milk replacer they have previously used on the farm.
“Since introducing ProviMilk Premium, calves are consistently reaching growth targets, it is easy on their stomachs and has enabled us to avoid any digestive upsets.
“Furthermore, we find ProviMilk Premium easy to mix and can be used through our automatic feeders.”
Peter deems the pre-weaning period as a crucial time for the overall longer-term performance of the herd on their farm and has a specific system in place. Calves receive colostrum up to day five and thereafter ProviMilk Premium milk replacer is introduced.
We give due consideration to keeping calves disease free and keeping them away from antibiotics, and so calves are fed milk replacer over feeding whole milk from the parlour.
“We wean when calves are somewhere around the 8-10 week mark, feeding ProviMilk Premium once-a-day from about six weeks.”
Ciaran Murphy, Quinns, says recommending ProviMilk is always going to equate to a happy customer.
“The range includes a product that can be matched to a number of different calf production systems, and for the Osbornes I needed to recommend a product that was going to work for calves in both his beef and dairy systems,” he concluded.
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