Wet conditions will be affecting calf performance, particularly where animals are on a grass-only diet.
Introducing creep feed will drive liveweight gain through August and maximise sale weight in animals destined for weanling sales in autumn.
Calves are highly efficient at converting concentrate into liveweight, making creep feeding meals much more cost effective.
Target calves which will be sold this autumn for creep feeding. If calves will be housed, wintered and grazed next year, there is little merit feeding meals to these animals now.
Ideally, split the bull calves out from the heifer calves. This is easier said than done, but will make it easier to target higher levels of meal to bulls.
With good-quality continental-type bull calves, target 3kg to 4kg/day, where grass is limited and quality is poor. On good grass, reduce meal to between 2kg and 3kg/day.
With heifers, offer 2kg to 3kg/day if grass is scarce or of poor quality, reducing back to between 1.5kg and 2kg on good grass.
Good-quality bull calves are more than capable of gaining 1.5kg/day on good grass along with the outlined feed rates, so feed costs are more than covered.
With heifers, liveweight gains will be more typically 1kg to 1.2kg/day and, again, meal feeding will be covered.