Prices have been high for red meat this season, however with the expected summer forecast for SE and Western Vic a longer, dry summer may be on the cards which can have detrimental impacts on bought in feed, and more importantly quality, especially when the rest of Australia has been struggling with the dry conditions.
Spring 2016 saw perennial pastures mature rapidly increasing NDF in grass diets beyond 60% resulting in reduced energy density, resulting in significant impact on animal performance.
Weaning the autumn drop calves early allows us to put the cow on a Maintenance only diet, rather than feeding for maintenance + lactation. Therefore we can now allocate our best pastures to our young stock and use alternative resources to increase daily weight gains.
For example, the dairy industry removes calves from the cow at day 0, they are on milk for approximately 12 weeks and then weaned. In the beef industry, the typical weaning age is 7-8 months. There are simple strategies we can use to pull this date back by 2-3 months, for a weaning age of 5 months old without sacrificing growth.
Early Rumen Development is the Key
The trick dairy guys use is supplying a quality grain meal from the very - beginning containing high protein, energy and key nutrient, starch. Starch is required to develop the papillae in the lining of the rumen, the papillae are little nodules that increase the surface area and absorption sites for VFA's - the animals energy supply.
Therefore the earlier we can develop the papillae, the faster growth we can achieve. By developing a working rumen early on, the calf can obtain it's energy requirements from home grown pasture and supplements without the requirement of milk from the cow, potentially compromising her condition into the next breeding season
Contact Mark or Owen to discuss your Early Weaning Calves this spring.
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