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TAS Country : July 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010 Tasmanian Country 25 Advertising feature Calf rearing Calves think rice is nice From page 24 They are designed to be fed to newborn calves from day two until three to four months old when they switch over to the CopRice Heifer Rearer product. Available in bulk or 25kg bags the CopRice Premium Calf Pellets are an attract- ive option for dairy far- mers in Tasmania. Also readily available from CopRice is rice hull calf bedding. It's supplied in 125kg bales and is the preferred choice of calf bedding due to it's many favourable features. Rice hull bedding is a great insulator for the calf, and moves to adapt to the calf's requirements mak- ing it comfortable and healthy bedding. Rice hulls protect the calf from dampness due to it's unique silica proper- ties, therefore eliminating any side effects from bac- teria and mould caused by damp bedding. The hulls are not an attractive food option for the calf, so the bedding remains as a bedding and avoids any digestibility is- sues that may occur with other products. A key benefit to using rice hulls for your calf bedding is that they are environmentally friendly, all natural and biodegrad- able. It is a renewable re- source that is processed without any chemical addi- tives. For more information contact CopRice on 03 9644 0118 or visit coprice.com- .au Calm calving takes preparation The lull before calving is a good time to plan for a trouble-free calf-rearing period. By Jeanette Fisher A COMPREHENSIVE checklist is a sen- sible way to make sure no preparations have been overlooked. Suggested checks include: Calving area The health of the cow and her calf can be severely compromised if the calving area is contaminated. Calving paddocks must be spelled before calving. Ensure the access to muddy areas is closed off with electric fencing. Make sure the area around water troughs is gravelled and well drained. Split calving paddocks into small areas. Calf shed Calf sheds need to be clean, well ventilated, have fresh bedding and sufficient space to house the expected number of heifers. Make a generous estimate of how many heifers will be born before the first calves are ready to go out of the shed. It is better to plan for temporary housing than overcrowd the existing shed. Ensure the shed is cleaned thoroughly, disinfected, aired and rebedded. The ventilation must be adequate, with no smell of ammonia. Each heifer requires a minimum area of 1.5m2. Organise alternative housing if an overflow is expected. Management results Use last season's calf-rearing figures to set targets for better results. Have accurate quantification of last season's heifer-rearing results. Account for all deaths and illness last season. Make sure the percentage of last season's heifers meeting growth goals are calculated. Implement management changes that will improve on last year's figures. Employees Avert potential problems by writing a checklist of what is expected of employees, particularly new ones. Planning will result in healthy calves and beneficial relationships. Write a job description. Document the orientation procedure. Designate a person to supervise and train new employees. Have standard operating procedures in place to streamline routine tasks. Write a training plan for supervisors. Provide employees with clearly defined performance objectives. Ensure there is a regular non- confrontational employee performance evaluation. Calf-rearing check list Adequate supply of calf bedding Calf jack, chains etc. --- make sure all the parts can be found and are clean Supply of obstetrical lubricant, sleeves, soap and disinfectant Notebook/calf birth sheets for recording calf birth details 7 per cent iodine for navel dipping Ear taggers and tag supplies Colostrometer for measuring colostrum Containers for storing colostrum Milk fridge/freezer emptied and cleaned Fridge/freezer operating temperatures checked with thermometer Calf milk vat scrubbed and temperature checked for accuracy Oesophageal tube feeder checked and cleaned Milk feeders/ buckets/ hoses etc. scrubbed thoroughly New teats for feeders Grain feeders clean and undamaged Supply of calf grain ordered Check use-by dates on drugs and electrolytes left over from last season Order electrolytes and any feed additives Talk to vet about need for/supplies of needles, syringes and antibiotics Vaccination and drench programmes discussed with vet Vaccination and drench supplies and equipment checked Check condition and accuracy of calf scales or weigh tapes Notebook/computer program for recording calf rearing results --- details of sick calves, treatments, deaths, growth rates etc. Jeanette Fisher runs dairy heifer consultancy company Heifermax
August 5th 2010