American university professor Mike van Amburgh leads the ‘Feed for Growth’ heifer rearing workshop at Greenmount College, Antrim, on Tuesday, December 8 from 10.45am to 3.30pm
It was his research team that first highlighted the huge impact of calf nutrition up to weaning on lifelong performance in the parlour.
Open to all farmers and vets the event is a unique opportunity to discuss calf feeding, housing and health with the professor and five other specialists from across the British Isles.
Included is Aberdeen-based consulting engineer Jamie Robertson, whose work on ventilation in both converted out buildings and new calf houses will give many milk producers pause for thought.
One survey found that 50% of converted outbuildings did not have adequate ventilation with often just simple adaptations needed to rectify costly faults.
During the workshop Niall Jaggan will launch the new Volac ‘Feed for Growth’ programme for calf rearers in Northern Ireland.
As Global Products Manager at Volac International Niall offers a road map to maximising lifelong performance as explained at www.feedforgrowth.com.
Others with input to the heifer rearing workshop chaired by Greenmount Campus dairy head Ian McCluggage include: Mairéad O’Grady, ruminant veterinary advisor with MSD Animal Health will discuss lung worm prevention. Widely respected for her practical presentations at farm walks, Mairéad was previously in a Co Down mainly large animal practice.
Dr Steven Morrison, AFBI Hillsborough research scientist, will compare NI rearing results with those in other UK regions and identity opportunities for improvement.
Urging farmers to attend the Greenmount workshop Volac NI manager Alistair Sampson commented: “Calves fed six litres of milk replacer a day cost less to rear to 24 months than those fed four litres of milk replacer a day during their first two months.
“Calves on four litres a day must grow more later in life when their feed conversion efficiency is far lower to reach the target weights for first service at 15 months and calving at 24 months.
“During those first two months a calf can turn 50% of feed into growth, but from 11 months old until calving this falls dramatically to 10%.
“Plus prior to puberty a heifer’s growth focuses mainly on bone and muscle, whereas in later life they gain more fat and are less feed efficient.
“Well grown calves develop in to healthy, productive heifers which need less attention in the service to calving period plus bringing them into the milking herd sooner helps maintain a compact calving pattern.”
To book your free lunch at the Greenmount heifer workshop next Tuesday email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel; 07860 626 442.