Pictured: Clifford Cranston and his son Evan with Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness Feed Rep Martin Sexton in front of Clifford’s 14 month heifers.
Dairy farmer Clifford Cranston runs a very successful heifer rearing programme on his farm in Mullagh, Co. Cavan with the support of Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness.
“Heifers are calving down at 23-24 months and are hitting yields of up to 7/8 gallons of milk in their first lactation”, said Clifford. “In addition to producing a huge amount of milk, they are also coming into heat no problem. The success I’ve been having is unbelievable and I’m putting a large part of it down to the quality of the Lakeland Feed which delivers all the nutrients and minerals required to achieve optimum growth in the first 14 months of our Heifer Rearing Programme”.
Clifford’s Heifer Rearing Programme:
The programme starts in the middle of January when calving begins where Clifford aims to maximise daily live weight gain from the very start right through until the heifers are in calf the following year.
The calves are started on milk alone, with Lakeland Calf Starter Pencils and hay being introduced at approximately 10 days. Clifford then moves the heifers onto Lakeland Calf Grower Feed at approximately 2 months before they’re weaned which usually takes place at 8-10 weeks. Clifford only weans when the calves are consistently eating a minimum of 0.75 Kg Calf Grower / head/ day. The calves are then introduced to grass as soon as weather permits and receive 1kg / head / day of Lakeland Calf Grower throughout their first grazing season.
At 6 months of age the calves are then moved onto Lakeland Heifer Grower which is a high energy 21 % crude protein ration which also contains RumiSmart yeast and essential oils , and a specific heifer mineral package which has been designed to optimise growth in these young animals. During their first winter, the heifers receive 2-3 Kgs of Lakeland Heifer Grower Nut (depending on silage quality), and they stay on this feed until after they’re bulled at 14 months (10 April).
Lakeland Dairies Feed Representative Martin Sexton analysis’s Clifford’s forages for quality and mineral content and then uses this information to advise Clifford on the most suitable supplementation strategy to achieve optimum live weight gain in the heifers throughout the various stages of development.
The consultative approach adopted by Lakeland Dairies Agribusiness is part of the Lakeland RumiSmart Sustain Programme, which is a new fully integrated feeding system designed to get more out of the key resources available on farms, which in turn will increase efficiencies and therefore profitability at farm level.
For more information on the Lakeland RumiSmart Sustain Programme, or to discuss how Lakeland Dairies quality feed can improve your herd’s performance, please contact your Lakeland Feed Sales Representative or the Lakeland Farm Services Centre on 1890 47 47 20 (ROI) or 028 30262311 (NI).