“We have a much greater survival rate, and the lambs grow well, easily reaching the target weight with Sprayfo.”
Using Sprayo Primo Lamb milk replacer has made hand rearing 200 orphan lambs so much easier, and more profitable, says Margaret Saunders. The chief benefit being the lambs no longer suffer bloat, plus it’s easy to use.
Margaret, together with husband Owen and son Brendon, is a director of Samchaff Limited in Winton, a sheep and cropping farm. Each year, around 1,000 lambs are born on farm. They also take in orphans from other farms, hand-rearing about 200 animals each season.
Their rearing objectives are simple – to ensure the lambs weigh in at 18,5kg plus at five months, when they are sold for meat. 100 lambs are kept as replacements.
Rearing challenges are heavily dependent on what sort of season they have on farm, but feed is probably the main one says Margaret. When it’s short, or not great quality, it affects the condition and weight gain of the lambs.
The orphans are reared on milk replacer via automatic feeding machines.
In the past, Margaret used locally (New Zealand) manufactured casein-based milk powder. “We had endless problems with the casein formula; it blocked the teats and the non-return valves. The lambs would chew the teats to get milk, which became quite expensive. And many of them suffered bloat, which was just heart-breaking.” Margaret would lose up to a quarter of the orphans to bloat.
Three years ago, Margaret was introduced to Sprayfo Primo Lamb from AgriVantage, through her local rural retailer. And she hasn’t looked back.
“Rearing with Sprayfo has been a totally different experience. It mixes easily, there’s no residue and no blockages – we only change the teats now when they have worn out. The lambs love the milk and bloat is no longer an issue. We only lost 10 out of 200 lambs last season – and that was due to a variety of reasons.”
Sprayfo Primo Lamb from AgriVantage is a whey-based milk replacer, designed to meet the energy requirements of growing lambs. Being whey, it’s easy for lambs to digest, moving through the gut in only 2-3 hours, compared to 5-8 hours for traditional curding (casein) formulas. Rapid digestion encourages earlier concentrate intake, enabling quicker rumen development, which in turn allows for a smoother transition at weaning.
“Sprayfo is cost-effective; we have a much greater survival rate, and the lambs grow well, easily reaching the target weight. Plus, it’s no more expensive than other options on the market. So, why wouldn’t you use it?”
Margaret is also an advocate of Stalosan F – a drying agent with disinfectant properties – from AgriVantage.
“We’ve used Stalosan F for the last three years too. It has a drying effect as well as being a disinfectant, which is a real plus in the lamb housing. Unlike other disinfectants, you’re not adding moisture into the house to clean it. Stalosan F helps to dry the bedding and we haven’t had any issues with infection.”
Since incorporating Sprayfo Primo Lamb into her rearing programme, Margaret has attended AgriVantage lamb rearing seminars and had on farm visits from the team.
“AgriVantage have helped us with advice in reaching our rearing objectives. We found the lamb rearing seminars to be very helpful. I would definitely recommend both Sprayfo and AgriVantage” Margaret concludes.