“Calves are much stronger and exceeding target weaning weights,” says Westmeath Farmer

“Calves are much stronger and exceeding target weaning weights,” says Westmeath Farmer

Pictured: Lakeland Agri Longford Store Manager, Emmet Flood, with farmer, Timmy Hegarty.

Located in Ballydoogan, just outside Moate, Co. Westmeath, Timmy Hegarty is milking a 340 Holstein Friesian herd on a grass-based system. The herd is split calving; 60% in spring and 40% in autumn. Heifer calves are reared as dairy replacements, Angus calves are reared for finishing, and Friesian bull calves are sold on.

According to Timmy, the pre-weaning period is a crucial time to set his calves up for lifetime performance, hence why he places such importance on optimising health and nutrition from the very early stages of the calf’s life.

Colostrum Feeding

Timmy says,

Within the first two hours, calves receive 4 litres of colostrum via stomach tubing. They will then receive their second feed within the next eight hours, which will consist of another 2 - 2.5 litres.

Housing and Hygiene

Calves are housed in a well-ventilated calf shed, where they have access to a dry deep straw bed, and fresh clean water. From one week of age, they are fed the Lakeland Agri Munchy Calf Muesli, and are then introduced to the Lakeland Agri Calf Grower Nut at one month old.

Calves are bedded twice a day with clean fresh straw and the automatic calf feeders are washed regularly. 

Feeding CalfSmart25 Milk Replacer 

Four years ago, Timmy moved from feeding whole milk to calf milk replacer. Although having tried different milk replacers over the last number of years, he felt that the calves were not reaching their full potential, especially in terms of frame growth.

Having spoken to the Lakeland Agri Longford Store Manager, Emmet Flood, Timmy was then introduced to Lakeland Agri’s new CalfSmart25 Milk Replacer last October for his autumn calves.

According to Emmet,

Having spoken to Timmy, it was clear that he required a calf milk replacer with a higher protein content to encourage further calf frame growth and development.

CalfSmart25 Milk Replacer was chosen as the most suitable product to meet Timmy’s rearing objectives as it contains 25% protein and is packed with the vital amino acids, immunoglobulins and lactoferrins, vital for healthy calf growth and development.

Calves are fed 4 litres a day for the first 4 days through an automatic feeder, increasing to 6 litres over another 4 days. They stay at this rate for 35 days receiving 870g/day within 6 litres. From day 36, they begin to wean over a 30-day period at a 0.2 litre reduction each day. They spend 65 days on the machine in total and are weaned by 10 weeks of age.

According to Timmy,

When I walk into the calf shed now, calves are very content and satisfied. I have seen huge improvements in frame growth, incidences of scour have reduced significantly, and they have had no setbacks. Calves are much stronger and exceeding target weaning weights.