Nutrition is key
Nutrition is key
Nutrition is key heading into calving season, with farmers reminded that not all products are created equal when it comes to rearing the future of their herds.
World-leading and progressive family-owned animal nutrition company, Fiber Fresh, believes animals’ futures are based on getting it right in the calf shed from day one by including quality fibre.
Managing director Michael Bell says by getting nutrition right at the very start, calves have the ability to develop to their full potential, maximising their production and profitability potential.
“Nutrition isn’t just about growing a calf as big or as fast as possible, it’s about the development of that calf to its fullest potential and the greater efficiency that results.
“To achieve that, you need to provide them with what they naturally seek out and were designed to eat – good-quality fibre. This can be fed alongside meal and milk. But it has to be the right fibre, as not all products are created equal.
“Using poor-quality fibre like hay only provides bulk in the rumen, but feeding quality fibre provides the bulk and the nutritional value as well. Well-developed rumens are key to efficiency of digestion, nutrient absorption and sustained growth – all of which sets an animal up for life.
“Because of the efficiency that’s created by developing the rumen, farmers are able to make their money back on rearing an animal after the first lactation. Rearing calves on fibre also has the flow-on effect of ensuring a herd’s epigenetics for future profitability.”
Research done in conjunction with AgResearch has shown that by feeding Fiber Fresh to calves during their first 12 weeks results in better physical development, better metabolic function and adult-like rumination – all of which leads to better efficiency and ultimately higher production.
“Every day counts when it comes to getting calves off to a good start. Although calving season is a busy time of year, effort made in the early stages will pay dividends in the long-term,” Mr Bell says.
“Our research showed that at just seven weeks of age, fibre-reared calves had similar fermentation patterns and digestion to adults. After supplement feeding stops on conventional meal-based systems, calves would need to be on grass for between four to six weeks in order to develop to a similar stage.
“This season especially it is important for farmers to be looking forward, past this year’s payout, and continue to invest in the future of their herd.”
Fiber Fresh feeds are research-based and are a culmination of 25 years of trials to develop the advanced processes that result in high-quality fibre products.