The Smiths run 650 KiwiCross on their farm near the Arapuni stretch of the Waikato River. They made the decision to switch from feeding vat milk to Ancalf based on financial returns but have been delighted with the ease and calf health outcomes of making the change.
“We always used milk from the vat, but it was a bit of a no-brainer once we went to autumn calving,” says Dana. “Obviously anything that goes into the vat is beneficial for us – it just makes sense as a business to do this right from the get-go, so we know exactly how much milk is going to the vat and that we're getting the best premium for it because that's obviously more into our pockets.
“We used to split calve, so going into autumn using Ancalf we could keep as much
milk in the vat as possible, which is what we needed to get that winter milk contract. We then carried it through into springtime and it just seemed to work amazingly – the calves love it so we've stuck to it.”
With a range of calf milk replacer (CMR) products on the market, farmers rely on advice and recommendations to make the right decision for the future of their herd. Ancalf, being a casein-rich CMR closely aligns with the composition of natural whole milk, has a good reputation with farmers and rearers who are serious about their calves’ development.
The Smiths say they are seeing the health benefits of carefully selecting the right CMR.
“We spoke to other people that used Ancalf and it seemed to be the most popular one that everyone really loved. So we thought we’d give it a go and we haven't changed because it has been amazing. We haven't had sick calves, we haven't had any problems with the changeover from the colostrum straight onto the Ancalf – it just seemed to work,” says Dana.
“It’s the consistency for the calves – it’s a no-brainer really, just to make sure they're getting the nutrients they need and everything. I would recommend it.”