Pictured: Jonathan and Emma Knox with four month old daughter Sophie on the family farm, alongside Gary Tubman, Lakeland Agri.
With a Holstein herd at the centre of their family farming business at Ballyward near Castlewellan, Jonathan Knox and his father Mervyn cut no comers when it comes to calf rearing.
Replacement heifers they rear being the future dairy herd and bull calves the raw material for their beef finishing enterprise, they happily rely on CalfSmart 23 from Lakeland Agri, a 23% protein milk replacer specifically formulated to maximise health and performance in those critical early stages of life.
“We supply milk to farmer owned Lakeland Dairies so it was logical to source milk powder from them since last September, especially as CalfSmart 23 contains Imunopro from Volac,” explained Jonathan.
“Calves are started on bucket feeding before moving to a Volac FörsterTechnik Vario computerised calf feeder, which ensures milk is always available to calves at the same consistency and temperature. The machine lets calves drink small amounts often and gives us a very early warning of any individual calf going 'off colour' and not drinking its milk.
“We find the whole business of rearing calves works best with the best of milk powder from Lakeland Agri and the computerised feeder from Volac. Their Förster Technik machine helps us rear calves better, at less cost in time and physical effort.”
Jonathan Knox explained that they wean calves at 60 days having used a bag and a half to two bags of CalfSmart 23 milk powder per head.
“Above all, our priority is to have heifers calved and into the milking parlour at 24 months. Hence, our reliance on a quality calf milk powder to give calves that vital steady start in life. Either bucket fed or through the machine, CalfSmart 23 proves easy to mix and above all of consistently high quality,” says Jonathan.
Faced with the challenges of calving and rearing all year round, Mervyn and Jonathan are impressed with the thrive of calves on CalfSmart 23. Cows in this Co. Down herd are all put back in calf to Holstein bulls so male calves destined to be finished as steers for the meat plant need careful early management. This 23% calf milk powder ensures that bull calves have time to get the right body frame developed.
CalfSmart Milk Replacer Range
CalfSmart 23 and CalfSmart 25 from Lakeland Agri are two innovative milk replacer products ‘precision-formulated’ by dairy nutrition experts Volac to maximise the early life health and performance requirements of modern dairy calves.
Both milk formulas are based on concentrated whey protein, which makes up the majority of the protein fraction of natural cow colostrum. This concentrated whey protein base material, called Imunopro®, is also packed with the vital amino acids, immunoglobulins and lactoferrins, which are vital for healthy youngstock growth and development.
Both CalfSmart 23 and CalfSmart 25 also benefit from the addition of two innovative Volac health packages, Butyrate and Nutry-lyst™ which help to improve calf gut development, reduce the risk of diarrhoea and boost feed conversion rate.
The fully balanced liquid blend for both products is then spray dried for optimum mixability, palatability and consistency before, finally, the addition of enhanced levels of vitamins and minerals. The end result is two easy-to-mix, precision-formulated, highly digestible milk formulas perfect for calves up to weaning.