Livestock Enterprise - Calf Rearing

Calf - Published with kind permission: Brian Brown.Conventional calves are reared on a once-daily whey-based system after an initial period of seven days on colostrum and cows' milk. Calves consume an average of 13.5 kg of milk replacer to weaning at approximately 5 weeks of age when they are consuming 1 kg per head daily of 18% crude protein calf pencils.

They are offered compounded calf rearing nuts up to 12 weeks of age. From 12 weeks of age they are offered a home mix based on rolled wheat, beet pulp, molasses and rape meal as a supplement to grass silage and straw.

Pneumonia has been a major problem with calves in the past. Vaccination has been used to protect against virus infections. Nasal swabs are taken to isolate the virus and the appropriate vaccine is used if and when necessary. A Dairy Herd health plan has been in place for 9 years to eradicate B.V.D, Johnnes disease and Leptospira Hardjo. Vaccination against BVD appears to have increased calves' passive resistance to all infections.

The organic calves are reared on whole cows milk and weaned at 3-months old. They are housed in groups and fed organic concentrate and hay.