Best practice in rearing calves will be the topic of ten advice events this month, organised by Teagasc and Animal Health Ireland, in conjunction with the Aurivo, Dairygold, Glanbia and Lakeland Dairies co-ops, and supported by Volac.
Practical, research-backed advice will be on offer to Irish dairy farmers ahead of the birth of more than one million calves on their farms before the end of April.
At the launch of the CalfCare events, Teagasc dairy specialist George Ramsbottom said: “Our research shows that well reared calves are more productive and profitable during their lifetime.
“Management practices that help include ensuring that they receive adequate colostrum; are fed six litres of milk or milk replacer per day; and are weaned by weight rather than by age.”
“Getting the right amount of colostrum as early as possible is the secret of good calf management,” said Rebecca Carroll of Animal Health Ireland.
“In the event of scour occurring, and contrary to popular opinion, milk should not be withheld.
“However affected calves should receive additional electrolytes to help rehydrate and correct acidosis.”
Pat Cahill of Volac, sponsors of the series of events said: "We are delighted, once again, to continue supporting these events, which provide practical, research-backed advice for all farmers, to assist them in rearing healthy and thriving calves.
"With the other partner organisations, we are building on the success of previous years, bringing the events to new locations.”
The events will focus on the 1,2,3 of colostrum management; performance of calves on milk replacer or whole milk; controlling cryptosporidium and coccidiosis; and streamlining the workload.
Five of these events are in Munster. Commencing at 11am, they take place on the farms of: Eugene M and Eugene O Lyons, Clonmoyle, Aghabullogue, Co Cork on Tuesday, January 12; the Teagasc/Dairygold Research Farm, Kilworth, Co Cork on Friday, January 15; Pierce and Adrian Casey, Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford, and John Fitzgerald, Newberry, Mallow, Co Cork, on Tuesday, January 19; and Ger Kirby, Parkroe, Ballyneety, Co Limerick, on Thursday, January 21.
The other events, also starting at 11am, are at the farms of Pat and Mark O’Shea, Hallahoise, Castledermot, Co Kildare, on Monday, January 11; John and Philip Tyndall, Templeshambo, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, on Tuesday, January 12; Michael Murphy, Banse, Kilmanagh, Co Kilkenny, on Friday, January 15; Ballyhaise Agricultural College, Co Cavan, on Thursday, January 21; and on the farm of John and William Donohue, Rathgorgon, Athenry, Co Galway, on Friday, January 22.
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