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"Ancalf - Getting calves off to a good start"

We spoke to NZAgbiz customer Melissa Barber to hear more about how Ancalf has helped with their operation in Taranaki. As sharemilkers running 1,100 cows, Melissa’s (and partner James’) know that problems scale pretty quickly, so their priorities are about avoiding animal health problems, getting the calves off to a good start, and making it all as easy as possible.

“It makes life easy”

When you're rearing a lot of calves, you don't want to create problems. You want to keep the calves really healthy because as soon as you’ve got a problem, it’s just so much more time and effort. That’s why we stuck to Ancalf… it makes life easy.

“They seem just to do really well on it”

It feels like it's more natural – being a whole milk product rather than just the whey or skim milk type of product. I like the fact that it's got all the elements of a whole milk thing. And they seem to just do really well on it. We give one to four days colostrum and the rest then go on milk powder. That way I know I'm only getting the very best quality for those younger calves. As I run short of that, then the oldest calf will go on Ancalf and they'll be on that twice a day while they're in the sheds. Then when they go outside in the calf area and they go down to the once-a-day feeding program. Which is mixed specifically for calves.

“It must be nice for the calves having a belly full of warm milk on a cold winter's morning”

A bonus is that you can feed warm milk to your calves on some of those cold winter mornings. You mix up a trolley full of warm milk powder which must be nice for the calves having a belly full of warm milk on a cold winter's morning rather than the cold stored stuff out of the vat.

“It's really, really easy”

It mixes well. We've got a hot water cylinder set up specifically for that with a hose that we get beat up into this big tub with that recirculated Honda pump on it. Really, really super easy. It's easy enough to go ‘I need a bucket for ten, put in some hot water. Give it a bit of a whisk, and she's ready to go.’ I don't have any problems with it mixing or anything like that. It's really, really easy.