I was intrigued earlier this year when Fonterra said milk production was only down 1%.
The cereal (Grower 16 and Grower 20) is designed to help farmers and calf rearers reach targeted calf growth and profit and “to bring calves to peak condition sooner,” the company says.
“Customers said they wanted a nutritious calf feed with no PKE and at an affordable price,” says Agrifeeds general manager Braden Waite.
Working with farmers and a ruminant nutritionist, Dr Bryan McKay, the company devised “the best value-for-money calf feed in the New Zealand market,” Waite says. Grower 20 is now “the only calf feed in NZ with dairy as its protein source”.
“We worked hard to understand what farmers and rearers wanted in calf feed. We went on farms, asked lots of questions and mostly just listened.”
Farmers wanted fresh, PKE-free calf feed delivered on time every time and reasonably priced, Waite says.
Cambridge calf rearer Hamish Macdonald uses 30 tonnes of Grower 16 and one tonne of Grower 20 per year, says Agrifeeds. He likes the two sources of starch in Grower and the milk protein.
His 750 calves a year do well on Grower 20 and he may switch to an “affordable” PKE-free version.
Some demand for a PKE-free product is due to young animals coping with it better, and its lower pressure on the environment, Waite says.
Grower 20 is a 20% protein calf starter feed suitable for calves on milk to stimulate their rumen development. It will support early feed intake and can be offered from four days old.
Once calves have been weaned off milk they can be switched to Grower 16 which suits weaned calves weighing 70 to 80kg reared on a quality calf starter. Grower 16 contains safe starch levels so suits ad lib feeding.
Molasses, sweeteners and flavours enhance the taste and increase animals’ energy supply, says Agrifeeds.
The Grower range is available in 20kg bags, one tonne bags and in a bulk silo option.