The golden rules for weanling producers
Compensatory growth is more of a myth than a reality on some farms, says ruminant nutritionist Paul Mooney, from Trouw Nutrition.
"Be realistic about your farm and what you can feed your cattle in the spring and summer," he advised farmers who are producing weanlings.
"Restricting cattle in the winter makes sense if you can give them top quality feed in the spring and autumn, but if you can't, then you should be aiming for consistent growth."
Mr Mooney was one of a several speakers who addressed 200 weanling producers at the Connacht Gold weanling symposium in Claremorris, Co Mayo, on Thursday night.
Speaking to the Farming Independent, Mr Mooney outlined five golden rules:
•Feed composition -- Mr Mooney warned farmers to assess feed based on their ingredient composition and quality and not just visual appearance. While most farmers were attracted to the muesli-type creep feeds, studies conducted by Trouw Nutrition have shown that pellets can result in higher intakes and performance. The studies showed that when dairy-bred calves fed on muesli and difference size pellets were compared, both performance and intake were better on pellets of 8-10mm in size.
"There is a perception muesli and crunch products are better but that is not necessarily the case," he said.
•Cow management There are differences of up to four litres per day in the milk production between some breeds and crossbred cows.