Co-Op Source members will be supporting farmers in their calf rearing systems on the back of having launched their new TopStart Calf Milk Replacer.
With a network of over eighteen members and excess of seventy five branches across the country Co-Op Source members will be supporting farmers in their calf rearing systems on the back of having launched their new TopStart Calf Milk Replacer.
Successful rearing of calves requires proper management from day one and feeding good quality colostrum is the very starting point. Following Animal Health Ireland’s 1-2-3 recommendation is a very useful guide and unrestricted access to:Clean waterFresh, palatable starter concentrateFresh, good quality straw is preferable over hay as it may reduce starter concentrate intake due to its palatability. Straw creates a ‘scratch factor’ keeping the rumen healthy and by preventing ruminal plaque from building up.
Feeding colostrum is recommended up until day 3 and from then a good quality Calf Milk Replacer is the most positive step that can be taken to assist calves to reach their genetic potential.
Whole Milk versus Milk Replacer
Milk replacer offers a number of other advantages over whole milk:Performance - Studies show that replacement heifer calves with higher growth rates in the first 8-10 weeks of life have significantly improved first lactation yields and fertility performance. Milk Replacer supports such growth targets.Reduced Risk of Scour-Milk Replacer is consistent and acidified to improve digestion and decrease the risk of scour.Earlier weaning-Whole milk contains very high levels of fat/energy. This delays solid feed intake, rumen development and ultimately weaning. Health-Feeding antibiotic milk greatly increases the risk of development of resistant organisms and at a minimum it should not be fed to heifers. Feeding whole milk greatly increases the risk of spreading disease e.g. Johne’s disease.
Economics of Milk Replacer
Even at cash neutral the above reasons more than justify the feeding of milk replacer over whole milk. However at present there is an additional ‘cash in hand’ benefit to using milk replacer:It takes circa 250 litres of milk to rear a calf TopStart Milk Replacer @ 27 c/l (12.5% concentration)Whole Milk @ 31 c/l (current price including VAT)4 Cents saving @ 250 Litres = €10 Per Calf
What to look for in a Calf Milk Replacer QualityQuality of Protein-Quality milk protein sources are superior to vegetable sources. Protein Level-Higher levels promote lean growth.Oil Level-Higher levels promote growth. Balanced vitamins & trace elementsLow fibre & ash level-Fibre levels above 0.15% indicate moderate to high use of vegetable protein. Ash levels above 8.0 % increase the risk of scour (particularly at high mixing and feeding rates).Easy to mix
Features of TopStartFixed formulations based on meeting quality standards, to produce consistent results on farm.Easy-mixing powder.Contain Neotec 4, a blend of functional fatty acids which improves feed efficiency, growth and immunity.Comprehensive supplementation with vitamins & trace elements to promote and support fast healthy growthFlexible-suitable for ad-lib, computerised and once-a-day feeding systems
TopStart Milk Replacer is available instore from all Co-Op Source members.