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Ray of hope for dairy industry

23 May 2012 Bell-Booth

Ray of hope for dairy industry

New Zealand dairy farmers are expected to be on average 42,000 dollars worse off this season following yesterday’s announcement by Fonterra that it has to cut its milk payout forecast because of softening global dairy prices.

But a New Zealand product gaining increasing attention in the United States could help offset those losses.

Queen of Calves was invented on a Manawatu family farm and promises to raise milk production by 18 per cent.

The naturally-based product has been studied by both Auckland and Massey Universities.

Dr Jean Margerison, a Massey University Lactational Physiologist is currently writing a paper for the prestigious American Journal of Dairy Science, after completing almost five years research into the product.

She says the Queen of Calves programme makes calves grow faster and bigger, wean earlier, and significantly increases their milk yield.

Professor Chris Triggs of the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics found heifers raised on the product produced 18 per cent more daily milk solids in their first and second lactations than the national average.

Queen of Calves developer Stephen Bell-Booth says his family discovered the formula after feeding it to calves on their own farm.

He says Queen of Calves costs about sixty dollars per calf more than a traditional calf diet but farmers using it get on average more than 350 dollars extra revenue per calf.

“When Fonterra cuts its milk payout unfortunately farmers often look to cut costs on the farm. But we have farmers who have used Queen of Calves telling us that’s a big mistake. When they decided not to use our product to cut costs, they’ve also cut their milk solids yield significantly and they’ve quickly resumed the Queen of Calves programme the next year to boost their profits.”

ends

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