Rushing calves on to solids is 'a false economy'
FARMERS should hold back from rushing in to once-a-day feeding for young calves to reduce labour.
That was a key message at last week's Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef Programme event on the farm of Pat Bowden in Kilkenny.
At the event Volac's Liam Gannon said that calves consume over three litres of milk, or their entire recommended morning feed, just to stay alive. He stressed with early once-a-day feeding that young calves can fall behind swiftly if they are not able to eat a kilo of meal a day.
"You can't control the level of beestings the calf has got in most cases, but there is a lot you can do to influence the lifetime performance of that animal by what you do in the first eight weeks."
The aim is to double the birth weight up to around eight weeks, with a target of around 90kg for weaning.
Pat Bowden purchases his calves at around three weeks and weans them off milk at around 12 weeks.
Liam said the old consensus to get them off milk as soon as possible and on to solids was a "false sense of economy".