Harry and Lynn Wilson, who milk 120 cows between Ballyclare and Larne in Co Antrim, were part of the extensive farmer group participating in the Calf Excel trial, hosted by HVS Animal Health over the past 12 months.
The new product, which will be officially launched at this year’s Royal Ulster Winter Fair, has been specifically developed to influence the wellbeing in young calves and help bring relief against intestinal disorders and non-specific diarrhoea.
“We calve the year round,” Harry explained.
“All our maiden heifers are bred to top quality AI bulls. This gives us the next generation of replacements that we need.
“Beef straws can then be used on the main milking group. We have been using a lot of Simmental bulls on the cows over the past year or so.”
Harry confirmed that the money generated from beef calf sales has been an important income stream for the business, particularly given the recent downturn in milk prices.
“We take every step possible to ensure that all the calves get the best possible start. Our beef calves are sold on at about six weeks of age.”
Lynn is the person charged with the responsibility of rearing the calves born on the farm
“We had noticed that scour-related problems were becoming more of an issue throughout the year, with Crypto a possible cause,” she said.
“It was also becoming that bit more difficult to get newborn calves to suck. Paul Elwood, from HVS then asked us to take part in the Calf Excel trial, which we agreed to immediately.
“Calf Excel comes in powder form. I started including it in the milk fed to the calves morning and night. And the response was almost immediate. Any scouring problems cleared up and the calves’ appetite improved significantly.
“The product dissolves easily in the milk and there are no palatability issues associated with its inclusion.”
Paul Elwood was a recent visitor to the Wilson farm. He explained that Calf Excel should be fed at a rate of 10g per calf per day, from the commencement of milk feeding up to six weeks of age.
“It contains a number of ingredients which act to help protect the lining of the young calf’s gut: 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.”
Paul also pointed out that the new product made a discernible difference on all the trial farms.
“Crypto is now becoming a major challenge on many dairy farms right across Northern Ireland. The results of the Calf Excel trial confirm that the new product can be used an effective means of keeping this problem at bay.”
For further information, contact HVS Animal Health on (028) 4483 1700