AgriVantage's Warren Tanner discusses lamb rearing protocols with Spring Sheep Milk Co Farm Manager John Ryrie and Rearing Manager Jane Egan at the Monavale Pilot Farm in Cambridge.
Key to Spring Sheep Milk Co’s overall operation is maximising the production of each individual animal to produce enough high-quality product for their markets.
Their approach is to improve animal genetics long term, while maximising the genetic potential of their current animals.
Successful lamb rearing is key, and Spring Sheep is undertaking several initiatives to achieve this; one of these being rearing lambs with AgriVantage’s Sprayfo Primo Lamb milk replacer.
In March 2018, AgriVantage hosted Spring Sheep Milk Co on a visit to Holland, home of Sprayfo manufacturer Trouw Nutrition.
LtoR Nick Hammond, Teun Shuurkamp, Thomas Macdonald, Warren Tanner on drying factory roof overlooking city of Sloten in North Holland
The main objectives were to ensure that Spring Sheep had a better understanding of:
1. Trouw Nutrition’s LifeStart principles, and
2. the unique Sprayfo manufacturing process.
Both of which are founded on good nutrition as the basis for maximising the genetic potential of young animals.
“Growing strong and healthy animals is the founding principle of AgriVantage and the key reason we distribute Sprayfo milk replacers” explains AgriVantage Business Manager Warren Tanner. “It’s life start that sets life performance.”
“Trouw Nutrition’s LifeStart is a well-researched and constantly developing programme designed to help dairy operations achieve higher performance through a unique focus on nutrition for young animals (in the first eight weeks of life).
“It was important for us to prove to Spring Sheep that by applying LifeStart nutritional recommendations, they can increase individual animal performance while more effectively ensuring their animals grow strong and healthy.
“Sprayfo milk replacers and recommended feeding schedules are perfectly designed to meet the animal’s nutritional needs and the Lifestart rearing objectives.”
The group visited two Sprayfo manufacturing locations and the Trouw Nutrition research farm.
Spring Sheep Business Manager Thomas Macdonald says the visit to Trouw Nutrition was invaluable.
Spring Sheep Milk Co COO Nick Hammond and Business Manager Thomas Macdonald talk to Trouw Nutrition Senior product manager Steffen Rouwers in the control room of the Deventer blending plant.
“Firstly, it was good to see the manufacturing process and stringent quality control employed by the manufacturer in ensuring that Sprayfo Primo Lamb is safe and consistently delivers optimal nutritional value to our lambs” he said.
“We have a good understanding of the processes that Trouw Nutrition have employed to overcome any issues such as batch to batch consistency – which can play havoc with the digestive systems of young lambs.
“And we have confidence there is little to no difference between the batches of Sprayfo milk replacer that we receive.
“Furthermore, their unique spray drying technology (Sprayfo manufacturing process) allows for protein to be attached to the outside of each particle, so it’s readily available for the animal to utilise as soon as it enters the abomasum.”
Trouw Export Manager Teun Shuurkamp explains a key part of the manufacturing process at Trouw’s drying plant in Sloten, Friesland.
Trouw Nutrition’s Spray Dry System ensures Sprayfo Primo Lamb is a unique and consistently high quality, optimally digestible milk replacer.
It’s also specially formulated for lambs.
Being whey-based, it’s non-curding and easily digested in the gut, moving through a lamb in 2-3 hours compared to the 5-8 hours it takes for lambs to digest traditional curding (casein) milk powders.
And it contains hydrolysed wheat protein, which is proven to have better digestive properties than other commonly used protein sources, such as soy.
Therefore, Sprayfo Primo Lamb does not cause bloat and is very safe for lambs to feed on.
“Spring Sheep have conducted extensive studies to ensure we give our lambs the best start in life.” Thomas continues, “This is critical to our company culture of valuing animal welfare and the importance of each new generation of lambs as we grow our industry.
“We found Trouw Nutrition’s research laboratory to be very impressive.
“It’s a world class facility into which they commit a lot of resource into research and development.
“Clearly, they are developing nutritional products based on science, they put a lot of work into proving their Lifestart theory and that was highly reassuring.”
Thomas examines fat profiles at the Sloten Spray Dry Factory
The group also toured top performing sheep dairy operations in Holland, where ewes produce over 1,000L milk in a year.
A highlight of the trip was visiting a farm where they had been working on a genetic program for over 30 years.
Through the process, they have improved the genetic potential of the stock with ewes producing over 1,000L milk in a year, which equates to nearly 3L/day.
In the northern Island of Texel, they visited an award-winning cheese producer, which was in the process of setting up their own sheep milking operation (rather than sourcing milk from other farms on the island).
This was of particular interest to Spring Sheep Milk Co, who are expanding their operation and looking for different layouts and setups to maximise efficiency.
Thomas says, “We’ve come away from this trip knowing that Sprayfo Primo Lamb measured up to our expectations.
“We’re confident that we’re working with the right people and the right product to achieve our rearing objectives at Spring Sheep Milk Co.”