In 2014 Lisa Paterson made the switch to Sprayfo whey-based calf milk replacer. Based on the performance of her calves year after year, she says she would not use another milk replacer.
Lisa and her husband Tony milk 1200 cows on 442ha near Lumsden in the South Island. They rear approximately 800 calves every year – 350 are replacement heifers and the rest are finished for beef on a lease block nearby.
Back in 2014, Lisa came across Sprayfo and AgriVantage when searching the internet for a quality milk replacer.
“Our objectives were to find an alternative to using milk from the vat and to get weight on the calves much quicker.
“My initial impression of Sprafyo and AgriVantage was good” says Lisa. “I liked the information, the science behind the products. Feeding whey for rumen development made good sense and I thought it was well worth giving Sprayfo a try. So, I rang AgriVantage.
“The initial conversation with (former AgriVantage Business Manager) Warren Tanner was really in-depth and reassuring. We switched to Sprayfo Blue Premium CMR that season.”
Lisa’s calves have ad lib access to meal and lucerne from day one. They are fed colostrum milk twice a day for the first two weeks and then go down to once a day in preparation for transitioning to Sprayfo Blue milk replacer at three weeks old.
“From my very first season with Sprayfo Blue, I have felt that the calves perform a lot better” Lisa continues. “They gain weight quickly and they are healthy.
“When payout is up, feeding Sprayfo is really cost-effective. When payout is down, I believe the beneficial outcomes outweigh the cost.
“I can safely say that our herd health overall is excellent, and I put that down to the benefits of good early nutrition.”
Lisa weans her calves at 100kg.
“I probably feed them too long” she admits, “but my theory is that you have to get your calves in optimal health and condition before you wean them. If we’re going to the effort of rearing calves, then we want to grow the best animals that we can.”
Weaning is a gradual process and Lisa says there’s no growth check with Sprayfo Blue. “Our calves are good healthy eaters come weaning; it shows their rumens are properly developed.”
AgriVantage’s Stalosan F and Biopect are also part of Lisa’s rearing toolkit.
“Stalosan F contributes to animal welfare and cleanliness in the shed” Lisa explains. As recommended by AgriVantage, she uses Stalosan F in conjunction with a liquid disinfectant.
“We use Biopect to boost the calves in periods of stress” she continues. “For example, we dose the ‘beefies’ when they leave the calf shed and we give it to all the calves when we transition them to Sprayfo Blue. If any calf looks less than perky, we dose them with Biopect. It saves them getting dehydrated.”
The quicker you deal with a sick calf, the quicker they come right again is Lisa’s theory.
The support behind these products is another reason Lisa is a Sprayfo advocate. “AgriVantage has given us valuable advice over the years. I know if I have a question, I only need pick up the phone. In the early days we had some issues with the calves and were put in touch with Dr (Bas) Schouten which was a great help.”
What are Lisa’s key reasons for recommending Sprayfo Blue?
“Ease of use and the health of my calves” she replies. “I would never use a different milk replacer.”