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Farmer Experience

Deb Kirkham – Waikato

Deb Kirkham – Waikato

Massive weight gains from new formulations

Excellent nutrition is the key to giving your calves the best start in life and calves on Ingham Feeds and Nutrition’s new TopCalf formulations are showing phenomenal growth rates. New Ingham research has led to the development of new formulations of TopCalf® Formula 20 and TopCalf® Formula 16, for the 2015 season.

A trial on the Waikato dairy farm owned by Debra Kirkham found 40 Friesian bull calves easily transitioned to the new formulation of TopCalf® Formula 20.

The calves (with a starting age of 2 weeks) put on an average of 26.5kg over the 35 day trial – that’s an average weight gain of 0.76kg/day.

Farm manager Shelley Campbell tagged 40 calves and weighed them every two weeks. “At the last weigh they averaged 810 grams a day, which is phenomenal. We aim for 700 grams a day so 810 is quite impressive.”

The calves transitioned seamlessly to the new formulation. “I put the new meal straight in and they had eaten the whole bag by the next day. Shelley also decided to try the new formulation on some Jersey calves that needed a boost. They weren’t doing so well so I tried putting the new meal in one tray and the old meal in another tray. Every single day they cleaned up the new meal first.”

The farm rears about 3500 calves annually and it’s not just the trial calves who prefer TopCalf. “I definitely like it, I’ll be putting my vote in for it. If they all do that sort of weight gain it will reduce their time with us.”

She also sees the benefit in dealing with local Ingham dairy nutrition specialist Rebbecca Burrows. “I think Ingham is absolutely brilliant. Becs is on speed dial on my phone, she knows the answers to all your questions. I really like working with them.”

Products in the TopCalf range deliver high quality proteins, starches and balanced combinations of the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for rearing strong, healthy, large-framed calves.