Level up your calf care
By Katherine DeWitt, DairyNZ Animal Care Team member
New Zealand dairy farmers do a great job of calf care, but what if we could do even better? DairyNZ Animal Care Team member Katherine DeWitt introduces our new levy-funded Calf Care Toolkit.
New knowledge gives everyone the opportunity to improve, whether you’re starting out in farming or have 20 years’ experience. To help you take your calf care systems to the next level, DairyNZ has developed what we’ve called the ‘Calf Care Toolkit’. And we’re launching it now so you can put it to use during this calving season.
We know farmers like hearing from other farmers, so we developed the Calf Care Toolkit with this in mind. We spoke with farmers around the country to get an understanding of the ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ behind their calf care systems. You’ll see their advice throughout the toolkit.
So how does the toolkit work? By answering 12 easy questions online, you receive instant, tailored feedback on ways to make your calf care even better. Once you’ve decided which areas to focus on, simply follow the web links for more advice and support. You can also share your results with your team, veterinarian or consultant.
Tried and tested by farmers
After four seasons on-farm, Rhys Darby remains keen on seeking out new information. “I always want to have new and best-practice information, so the team is up to date.”
That hunger to learn led to Rhys’ involvement in the Calf Care Toolkit pilot. Using the toolkit helped Rhys to identify that preserving his gold colostrum would improve his calf care – a simple action he’s put into practice this season.
“We milk our colostrum cows in the evening and store some of our gold colostrum overnight. We’ve been mixing up the potassium sorbate daily and putting it in our gold colostrum to maintain its quality until we feed it the next morning. It was a
really easy change to make and just required a change of mindset and setting up a system around it.”
Rhys reckons the Calf Care Toolkit is a winner and recommends other farmers give it a go.
“It’s very easy to use and people can make instant changes. It’s great to have information around what and why farmers are doing things. The quotes from other farmers are fantastic.”
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