By adlib feeding with Sprayfo Delta and then Sprayfo Blue calf milk replacers, Dairy Farmer LeAnne Blakelock says she has reared better calves with fewer losses on the same amount of powder.
At the tail-end of last season, LeAnne trialled Sprayfo Delta high fat CMR with her final mob of beef calves. At the time, she switched because she was looking for a better performing product – she chose Sprayfo for the science behind it. She wasn’t disappointed, saying “I don’t have any statistical evidence to share but the Sprayfo calves looked better from the start. We had no health issues with that mob, where previously we had lots.” (Read previous testimonial)
Based near Inglewood in the Taranaki, LeAnne and her partner Ian Powell milk 385 dairy cows and rear 250-300 calves annually. This season, she’s rearing 250 calves – 100 dairy replacements and 150 beef (a mix of Wagyu, Belgian Blue, Angus and Hereford) using Sprayfo Delta high fat milk replacer and Sprayfo Blue Premium.
LeAnne explains their calf rearing programme: “We fed colostrum ad lib (while our fresh supply lasted) and then moved each mob onto ad lib Sprayfo Delta for the first 4 weeks of their life. Most calves were drinking 10-12 litres per day.
“At 4 weeks, we transitioned them to ad lib Sprayfo Blue and at approximately 5-6 weeks old we reduced them to OAD feeding at the recommended rates.”
Being whey-based, Sprayfo Blue is a more cost-effective CMR than Sprayfo Delta. It is formulated to allow quicker abomasal emptying and encourages calves to seek out concentrates sooner, resulting in faster rumen development.
Because of the range of breeds, from purebred Jersey to Friesian beef cross, LeAnne weans her calf mobs off milk based on meal intakes rather than strictly on weight.
“We wait until mobs are eating 1kg of meal on average per day before moving to weaning” continues LeAnne. “We’re loosely aiming for good growth progress and for the Jerseys to be approximately 85kgs.”
This was LeAnne’s first experience of an ad lib feeding system, and it has been a success.
“We’ve had significantly less health issues compared to previous years despite there being no change to our initial pickup and gold colostrum practices.
“The calves can be described as well conditioned. In other words, they have lots of coverage over their bones, even the Jerseys.
“In prior years we have continued to support calf growth by feeding milk replacer OAD up to 12 weeks plus, to ensure we achieved the minimum 85kg weaning weight on the Jerseys. Not so this year, I expect to wean most of the mobs at around 9 weeks.”
A surprise for LeAnne is that the calves have consumed no more CMR on the ad lib system than they did on the TAD system (using other products) in prior years.
“We attribute this to the explosive growth we get on Sprayfo Delta in the first month and the subsequent rumen development with Sprayfo Blue, leading to feeding milk for less weeks” says LeAnne. “Our Sprayfo calves are more vigorous, healthier and bigger. We can see 30-day old calves sitting and chewing the cud.”
The products seem extremely palatable to the calves, adds LeAnne. Transitioning them from colostrum to Sprayfo Delta was simple. Similarly, the switch to Sprayfo Blue was immediate and issue-free.
The products are easy to mix, even in cold water, she confirms. “Both Sprayfo Delta and Blue stay in suspension really well, which is ideal for an ad lib system and is hugely labour saving.”
Having product delivered on farm, on time, has been another relief for LeAnne. “We have had fantastic service from our AgriVantage rep. Everything arrived as promised which has been a huge relief in the current covid environment.”
Choose Sprayfo milk replacers for optimising calf growth
AgriVantage offers a choice of curding or whey Sprayfo calf milk replacers, each one offering different benefits for calf and growth development.
Sprayfo Delta Energised Calf Milk
Our premium curding calf milk replacer for optimised growth.
Sprayfo Blue Premium Calf Milk Replacer
Our premium whey calf milk replacer for enhanced rumen development