by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
TAS Country : July 2010
22 Tasmanian Country Friday, July 30, 2010 Direct Importing agents and Manufactures PH Rob Ikin 0408 131 692 • USA manufactured premium pivots & linears • Irtec Quality hardhose irrigators • Electric and Diesel Pump Sets • Pipes and fittings SAVE $$$ Buying direct from us without compromising on Quality & Service 122 Boomers Road Launceston, 7250 2041641-100716 Stock Report FEEDING TIME: Calves get stuck into the automated feeder at the Griffiths family farm at Legana. Science TAGGED: The job of feeding a calf like this is now a lot easier. Rearing calves is no longer a back-breaking job at the Griffiths family farm, thanks to their automated feeding system, reports Karolin MacGregor One of the best things about it is you end up with a nice even line of calves because they're all getting enough to drink.' THE Griffiths family farm at Legana is owned by John and the day-to-day running of the operation is handled by his son Josh and nephews Joseph and Jonathan Hammond. Joseph is officially the farm manager and is also in charge of the calf rearing side of things. He said they made the decision to install four automatic calf feeders three years ago. ''It's a pretty big capital cost at the start but they'll be here for a long time, so if you add up what you save just in labour costs, it's a lot,'' he said. The family runs a herd of about 400 cows on the property, which sits alongside the Tamar River and has about 324ha of pasture. The herd is autumn calving and the family supplies milk to Fonterra. Joseph said they reared about 100 calves yearly, which, without the auto- matic feeder system, had been a big job. Calves being reared are fitted with electronic NLIS tags which identifies them each time they go into the automatic feeders. Joseph said the feeders could be programmed to supply the required amounts of both milk and grain accord- ing to the calves' ages, sizes and nutritional requirements. Jonathan said a big advantage of the automatic system had been an im- provement in the calves' heath, with very few cases of scours apparent. Joseph said while the feeders could be used with powered milk, they piped fresh milk directly from the dairy into a nearby vat. When needed, the milk is warmed by the feeders and fed to to calves. Each calf feeds about three times a day and the feeders limit how much milk they can drink at a time to prevent gorging. ''I think the biggest thing with it is, because they get a consistent amount and it's always at the right tempera- ture, it just stops them getting over-full and getting scours like they can when you're feeding them by hand,'' Joseph said. The feeders also supply the calves with a small amount of grain daily. ''We start them on grain the first day they come in and we also give them a bit of hay to chew on,'' Joseph said. ''One of the best things about it is you end up with a nice even line of calves because they're all getting enough to drink.'' The family rears a number of re- placement heifers each year and this season is also rearing some of its later calves specifically for the dairy heifer export market, which is offering very good prices for heifers. Most of the herd are Friesians, but they also have about 25 per cent Jer- seys. Under the automated system, calves are fed a combination of milk and grain for about 60 days, with the amount of milk gradually reducing and the grain increasing so they are eventually wean- ed off the milk. Joseph said, after weaning off milk, calves were given access to a nearby paddock of good quality pasture, but still came back to the shed daily for another month or so to receive grain in the feeders. ''It's good because it means we can grain feed them, but we don't have to cart it all out to the paddock,'' he said. ''They're already used to going into the feeders, so they just come in automatically every day.'' Joseph said most calves only took about two days to train onto the automatic feeders and overall they seemed much more content.
August 5th 2010