Thursday, 08 July 2021 13:55

Safe, healthy bedding for calves

Written by  Staff Reporters
Karapiro farmer Rachel Usmar using ZorbiFresh Active in a calf pen. Karapiro farmer Rachel Usmar using ZorbiFresh Active in a calf pen.

The first sixty days of a calf's life is crucial.

DairyNZ says that to set a dairy cow up for a long, productive life she must be given the best possible start. Extra effort now will pay dividends throughout her milking life.

Mineral company Blue Pacific Minerals says it has identified some challenges farmers may face during this time. At the National Fieldays last month, Blue Pacific Minerals launched new products, along with well known products such as OptiCalf, to help improve calf health and well-being and eventually boost growth and development.

One of the new products is ZorbiFresh Active, which comes in the form of fine powder and is scattered on calve pen beddings of all kinds.

Blue Pacific agriculture portfolio manager Mike Prendergast says ZorbiFresh Active starts killing bacteria and absorbing moisture in bedding as soon as it's applied, reducing moisture and bacteria in calf pens.

It reduces odour in pens by absorbing up to 100% of its weight in moisture, soaking up ammonia and nitrates to give calves and farmers a fresher, healthier environment.

Prendergast says it also helps combat challenges of overcrowding, bacteria risks and the threat of airborne ammonia in calving pens.

“ZorbiFresh Active can be used as part of a regular process to keep calf pens clean and disease free, but is also highly effective in larger doses post a bacterial outbreak,” he says.

Prendergast says successful calf rearing is geared towards a healthy and productive adult, with a well developed and functioning rumen.

He says DairyNZ states that calf pens must be fit for purpose and well maintained. Bedding areas must be comfortable, clean and dry.

“As calving season approaches, we want to help alleviate challenges faced by farmers.”

Karapiro farmer Rachel Usmar uses the product and says “it is great to be proactive around damp bedding, especially around that second half of calving as that is when the problems generally arise”.

The company says ZorbiFresh Active has been tested using the industry standard laboratory efficacy evaluation test and is 100% effective against Staph aureus and E. coli after one hour exposure.

Between 250 grams to 500 grams of the product is applied per square meter of animal bedding.

For housed dairy cows it can be applied once a day during bacterial challenge: for other applications, one to two times depending on stocking rate, moisture, ammonium and bacteria levels.

Prendergast says the product shouldn’t be fed to animals but adds that it is non-toxic if accidentally ingested.

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