The scourge of Cryptosporidium (Crypto) continues to gather pace on dairy farms across Northern Ireland. The parasite can cause severe scouring in young calves, with significant growth setbacks and even death the end result.
A case in point is the impact which Crypto has had on the Garvagh farm of the Gordon family, Mervyn, Wesley and Christopher, who milk 150 cows on the outskirts of Garvagh.
“We never had severe scouring problems on the farm up until January 2014,” confirmed Mervyn.
“We are very particular in the way that our calves are reared. Each receives more than adequate colostrum as soon as it is born. When well up on their feet the calves are put on to a computerised calf rearing system. And this has worked well for the past number of years.
“But we ran into severe scouring problems with two week old calves at the beginning of last year.”
Crypto was confirmed and a proprietary drug treatment recommended.
“This approach reduced the scouring problem but it was very harsh on the young calves’ stomachs with the result that daily growth rates still remained disappointing,” Mervyn continued.
Just as the problem reached its height the Gordons were asked to take part in a trial to assess the feasibility of a new product – Calf Excel- developed specifically by HVS Animal Health to influence the wellbeing in young calves and help bring relief against intestinal disorders and non-specific diarrhea. Wesley Gordon takes up the story.
“Given the situation we were in, it made obvious sense to see if the Calf Excel would work,” he said.
“It comes in powder form. So it was simply a case of putting the product into the powder dispenser on the Automatic Calf Feeder and calibrating it for a feed rate of 10g/head per day.
“The results were both immediate and dramatic. Within a short period of time, the scouring stopped, calves regained their appetites and the bloom on their coats returned.
“We calve all the year round and now build in Calf Excel as an integral part of the calf feeding programme. The new product has been a resounding success.”
Paul Elwood, from HVS Animal Health, was a recent visitor to the Gordon farm.
“We had a number of farms on the Calf Excel trial over the past 12 months,” he said.
“And such has been the positive nature of the results obtained, that we decided to officially launch the new product at this year’s Winter Fair.
“Calf Excel contains a number of ingredients which act to help protect the lining of the young calf’s cut, hence its effectiveness in reducing the onset of scour related problems. Full details relating to calf Excel will be available on our Winter Fair stand.”
For further information, contact HVS Animal Health on (028) 4483 1700.