Complete Calf Care: Growing great calves together

As every farmer knows, youngstock are your future. The better calves are grown, the more they will produce later on and the longer they will last in your herd.

There is a lot of supporting evidence which shows that feeding calves well early on and getting them to target weights at key times will produce an animal that will repay you and more in the vat. While the financial impact is obvious, keeping animals in the herd for longer and having a single cow produce more also has a positive environmental impact, one which is currently a hot topic in the dairy industry.  

Growing good youngstock is simple in theory. There are only a few boxes that must be ticked for them to achieve good average daily weight gains and grow into a prime heifer. However, anything lacking during this critical period of development will come to light later. 

Having a simple, robust animal health plan from the day they are born until their first mating will ensure they have every opportunity to grow to their potential. Although planning alone will not produce a great heifer, the main driver for their growth is vitamin G (grass) – good quality and plenty of it!

As a senior dairy vet, I’ve seen a lot of calves and heifers. Many problems such as poor weight gains or disease commonly come down to pasture - either a lack of quality or a complete lack of feed. So, you could have the best animal health plan on paper and do everything it says, on the exact date, however, the plan is futile if your calves are underfed. To keep them in the best health, you need to focus on growing that vitamin G and managing your pasture, but this doesn’t leave much time or brain-power for executing those animal health plans.

One way we can help make life a little easier for you is to create a Complete Calf Care plan together and deliver the products your animals require to your farm at the right time. The Complete Calf Care programme was trialled last year with Winton VetSouth clients to support their animal health plans. This year, the programme is being offered across all VetSouth locations. The plan covers minerals, vaccines, drenches, and trace elements for the calves, and includes selenium/B12 and calcium bolus for the cows at calving.

By having a plan in place, the VetSouth team can give you a call when key dates are coming up and ensure what you need is delivered, when you need it. Life on-farm gets busy and sometimes things can be forgotten or delayed, which can leave animals at risk of deficiency or parasite burden at certain times and therefore impact their growth.

Having a Complete Calf Care plan with us means we can help keep on top of your calves’ needs and ensure your youngstock grow well. There is no extra cost or minimum order requirement for the delivery service.

Ask your KeyVet about the programme at your winter consult or get in touch to come up with a plan that will suit your farming timeframes and animals over the first 12 months of their lives.

It gives us, as vets, peace of mind that the youngstock under our care will get what they need at the right time and hopefully, for you, it removes some of the pressure and takes care of some of the things you have to remember. That way you can focus on making sure your calves get enough of that magic vitamin G! 


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