We would like to share our experience on the trip we took to Europe with Lionels Veterinary Service. As it has been an eye opener to us and it was quite an experience.
We visited Nutrifeed Friesland Campina which produces our milk replacer and electrolytes which includes
They advised us on the importance of looking after our dry cow on their dry period by giving them a balanced ration, enough space, stress free environment and good mineral supply.
In their talk about their milk replacer they also advised us on colostrum feeding to ensure that all calves get a good start to life through adequate transfer of passive immunity.
Colostrum management 3QS
QUALITY: provide good quality colostrums by measuring with reflectometre or colostrometer
QUANTITY: ensure calves ingest sufficient antibodies
QUICKLY: The timing of the first feed to ensure efficient absorption of the antibodies into the blood e.g give the calves colostrum within 2hours after birth and consider stomach tubing if they don’t drink from the bottle.
Based on the different milk replacers for calves we saw that Kalvolac Cair would be more beneficial for our winter calves as it contains the following
They took us to one of the farms close by which milks about 100 Holstein cows and with a few calves weighing an average birth weight of 53 kgs.
What we have learnt on the farm is that they are feeding their calves chopped wheat straw with pellet when they are 3 days old for rumen development.
They are putting balls and dummy teats for the purpose of entertaining them from sucking each other’s navels.
Which focuses on hygiene and bio security
They have three programmes:
Went to their factory where they showed us how their products work and took us to a farm where the was a hoof trimmer trimming cows.
We were very impressed with their hoof spray and thinking of fitting it in on our hoof care programmes in our farms.
Intra Hoof-fit Spray
They took us to two farms raising 1500 and 2000 bull calves
They get them at 2 weeks of age and fatten them for meat and sell them before the age of 8 months.
They are using the automatic feeder so that they get adlib milk.
2 weeks: pellets mixed with chopped straw and molasses licks
7 weeks: chopped straw, silage and boiled potatoes
Adequate calf house ventilation is vital to promote the growth of healthy calves. Successful calf house ventilation helps to reduce the risk of pneumonia outbreaks and increases overall calf comfort.
Visited their labs and factory which gave us more info on their products.
Cleanliness should be treasured at all times.
They gave us a talk on Mastitis on the farm and mentioned the different types of bacteria that affect our dairy cows which are environmental and contagious.
Hygiene on the dairy farm is essential to prevent several diseases, of which Mastitis is probably one the most threatening for both cattle health and farm cow income.
To the people who took their time to send us to the tour we are forever grateful. It was a life time experience and it was nice to meet people with the same passion as us about the well being of cows and calves
Special thanks to LIONELS VETERINARY SERVICE and Jannic Zietsman
We have learned a lot
Written by Yandisa Zindlani and Sinoxolo Blou