Calf rearing at its best in Fermanagh

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The McVitty brothers Trevor and Clive manage a dairy suckler and beef farm in Rossbrick, Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh. They currently milk 80 British Friesian cows averaging a yield of 7500 litres with a protein of 3.4 and butterfat of 4.0.

Replacement heifer rearing on the farm is of paramount importance and their aim and goal is to have heifers calving down at 24 months so as to maximise the potential of the young cow.

Trevor and Clive had been in conversation with Robert Nelson and Martin McCaffrey of Deering Farm Supplies Rosslea about this very matter and were looking advice and an update on advances in milk replacers. Deering farm supplies have been selling the Eringold range of milk replacers for many years and were able to advise the exact product required to achieve their goals.

Eringold Extra is a highly digestible, high protein, high fat, milk replacer where the milk proteins are made up of the highest quality. It also contains the unique Schils Protection Plus package which is developed by Schils in Holland and used extensively in the production of Veal on the continent. Schils protection plus also contains polyclonal antibodies and live yeast thus stimulating the rumen in the early weeks of life and encouraging healthy growth in the calves. The need to administer medication to young stock during the calf rearing phase is significantly reduced. It goes without saying that if a calf is healthy it will thrive.

When Robert Mollan of Eringold and Robert Nelson of Deering Farm Supplies visited the McVitty farm to check out the calves, one could immediately see the great condition on the calves and how happy the McVitty brothers were with the performance of their calves. Trevor explained how amazed he was at just how fast the calves started to consume concentrates eating between 1.5 and 2kg per day at 6-8 weeks. He also commented on just how healthy the calves kept with next to no digestive upsets.

The calving pattern on the McVitty farm is all year round. Their cows are served with their own British Friesian bull and replacement heifers are served with a Limousin. Each calf at birth receives around four litres of colostrum and is supplemented with a Calf Aid Paste tube (Mervue Laboratories) within the first 12 hours of birth. This helps kick start the calfs immune system and thus enables the calf to resist common farm problems such as coccidiosis and cryptosporidium.

The calves born to their 40 strong Simmental suckler cows also receive a calf aid paste tube within the first 12 hours of birth. Clive commented “it is vital that the new born calf gets off to the best possible start in life”.

The quality of stock on the McVitty farm speaks for itself. It doesn’t happen by chance. It is as a result of good management, forward planning and putting quality ahead of price each time. A small investment in the early stages of a calf’s life will pay huge dividends later.

The Eringold range of calf milk replacers is a result of the most up to date advances in calf rearing pioneered on Schils trial farms in Holland.

Their latest edition to the range widely available throughout Ireland is Eringold Super Oxi aimed at reducing respiratory issues in the young calf.

It is already proving to be of a huge help on many farms since its launch only a short time ago.

For more information concerning your nearest suppliers etc check out the website at or call Chris on 07739061672 or Robert on 07770775212.