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Growing your calves

Graeme Juno, Te Awamutu

It is a great sight, driving around the beautiful Waikato seeing mobs of well grown calves frolicking around in lush green pasture. A lot of time and effort has gone into these calves and once mid-November comes around, many of them start heading off to grazing.

There are a few factors to consider when sending your mob of future dairy superstars off to their new home for the next 18 months.

Many graziers like a minimum weight for calves coming on, so talk to your grazier about this. If you don’t have scales, give us a call as our technicians have excellent weigh scales and will come and weigh your calves for $85 per hour (incl. GST). You will receive an electronic (or hard copy if you prefer) report of all weights vs tag numbers and these can be uploaded to Minda Weights.

Have your calves had the necessary vaccinations? Clostridium, Lepto, but also BVD and Salmonella vaccines need consideration.

Discuss your grazier’s quarantine drench requirements. They may want you to use a safe, triple active like IverMatrix Calf, 24 hours before they travel. Calves need good levels of trace minerals to grow good frames and have functioning immune systems. A 2ml shot of Prolaject B12 + Selenium will be of use and discuss with your vet the possible benefits of a copper capsule.

If you can fill them up on hay prior to loading up can be helpful to ease the stress of travel.

The most important thing however for these calves is good tucker. Travelling is stressful, often they are not long weaned either. To help lessen the inevitable check, send a tonne of calf meal out with them. It really helps with the transition to the new property. We have a good 18% protein calf meal with a coccidiostat available for $790.00 + GST.

Friesian calves need to be putting on 0.7 kg per day and Jersey calves 0.6 kg per day. They just can’t do this if they don’t get enough dry matter. Some money spent on meal will have a very good return.