Experienced calf rearers Dellwyn and Sheree Malcolm are trialling the latest calf milk replacer (CMR) to hit the New Zealand market – Sprayfo Delta Energised Calf Milk. Despite a season plagued with challenging weather conditions, they are very pleased with the growth of their calves and expect to wean two weeks earlier than previous years.
Dellwyn and Sheree farm Longlea Farm at Heddon Bush in Southland. Between them they have 15 years’ experience in calf rearing. This year, they are rearing 100 Belgian Blue heifers and 200 Jersey bulls.
They were recommended new Sprayfo Delta by AgriVantage Business Manager Cheryl Farrar, who they have worked with for the last couple of years, whilst rearing calves with Sprayfo Blue Premium whey-based milk replacer.
Cheryl says she approached the Malcolm’s to trial Sprayfo Delta because she wanted honest feedback on the product.
“With Sprayfo Delta being new to the market, our aim this season is to get a thorough understanding of how the product performs for New Zealand farmers” says Cheryl. “We want to know how calves take to it, what growth rates are possible, how easy it is to use, and importantly does it work well under New Zealand conditions? All important considerations for the success of this product in the future.
“Dellwyn and Sheree are good operators who are passionate about their animals. I know they have tried lots of different milk replacers over the years too. So, they have plenty of experience and will also tell it like it is.”
The Malcolm’s feed their calves’ ad lib. For the first 2-3 weeks they are fed cow’s milk, then go onto a 50-50 mix of cow’s milk and CMR for a week before transitioning onto CMR. The calves also have access to hay, bailage, crushed barley, as well as ad lib water.
“When Cheryl approached us with the story of Sprayfo Delta, we liked that it was the closest thing we could get to whole milk and had a better balance of fat and protein than other CMRs” says Malcolm
“We found that Sprayfo Delta fitted into our system really easily. The calves seem to love it. And, mixing wise, I don’t think you’d find a better powder than Sprayfo. We’ve mixed both Sprayfo Delta and Sprayfo Blue in a 3,500 litre stirring tank. Other products we have used would separate, but not Sprayfo.
“Like the Blue, Sprayfo Delta has been excellent, it stays in solution with whole milk or cold water. When you see it mixed, you wouldn’t know it was a powdered product. It’s real creamy and yellow, absolute quality.”
Once in the paddock, the calves continue to get 5L/day of CMR. At 70kg, they are cut back to 3L/day for a couple of weeks prior to weaning.
Targeting 85-90kg, Malcolm says they expect to wean their first lot of calves in the first week of November, at about 10 weeks old. “We’ve had some terrible weather this Spring, yet the calves are in excellent condition and growing well. We expect to wean them about a fortnight earlier than usual.”
Dellwyn and Sheree are still to see how the Delta calves perform post-weaning but note the calves seem more satisfied and are consuming good amounts of hay and meal, so they don’t expect any challenges.
Sprayfo Blue, is a premium whey-based milk replacer, suited to systems where early rumen development is an advantage. Sprayfo Delta, a curding CMR is formulated to provide elevated levels of highly digestible nutrients to support rapid early growth and organ development. It is suited to systems where high early growth can help to support lifetime productivity.