Optimising labour provides an important basis for calf health

16 July 2019

Today's heifer calves are tomorrow's dairy cows. There are numerous benefits to successful calf-rearing. Losses are reduced, heifers calve earlier, calf-rearing costs are lower and the yield of dairy cows is improved. Over a period of three years, VDK Agri cooperated with HAS University of Applied Sciences, Vetvice B.V., Friesland Campina Nutrifeed, MSD Animal Health and Agrifirm to create the Blueprint for Calf Rearing. The Blueprint is an important tool for optimising calf-rearing practice. Effective organisation of labour is a vital principle of this document. It has also been shown to provide a crucial basis for realising a high level of calf health and reducing losses.

The Blueprint for Calf Rearing provides real assistance for dairy farmers. It contains a number of checkpoints to help them take a more structured approach to their work,” says Pierre van Oort, dairy farmer and VDK Agri employee. If you ask him, the right working environment can make or break your calf-rearing efforts. Using the proper tools will enhance both ease of use and enjoyment of the work. “Only then will you be able to work quickly and hygienically,” Van Oort says. A few practical examples:

Use the Solide teat bucket holder from VDK Agri. This holder ensures the teat bucket fits snugly and securely, which prevents milk spillage and keeps the buckets from falling on the ground and becoming soiled. The AdLibFeeder delivers significant labour savings by allowing you to provide several days’ worth of concentrated feed at once. It can accommodate the contents of an entire sack of feed. The AdLibFeeder is suitable for use with the XL-5 and XL-10 group hutches and can easily be mounted on the outdoor fence. It can be installed on the wall of bedded pens as well.

Another way to lighten your workload is by using the Dolly. This convenient tool enables you to lift and relocate the hutch and fence together, without disassembling them. Using the right accessories is your best bet for maximising ease of use, labour savings and enjoyment of your work. It also allows you to more effectively focus your attention on calf health and hygiene. This is beneficial to the end result of your calf-rearing efforts.

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