Investing in a computerised feeder can improve calf performance, bringing greater control and consistency to the milk feeding period. Proven automatic machines can also significantly reduce the labour devoted to calf rearing but should not be seen as an alternative to spending time with your youngstock.
Look at automatic calf feeders as a way of taking the variables out of the rearing process, but recognise that a high level of supervision, good hygiene standards and sound overall management are still the keys to success.
Volac supplies innovative computerised calf feeding systems from two manufacturers: Urban and Forster Technik – and provides farmers with a high level of training and support for machines from both companies. Rest assured that your local service engineer and Volac Business Manager will be on hand to help you maximise the value of your investment in machine feeding.
Computerised feeding: the benefits
Computerised feeders are designed to introduce flexibility into the day and reduce the time spent on mechanical tasks such a mixing milk and carrying buckets, thereby offering more time to observe the calves. They also deliver a fully controlled rearing system, which is tailored to provide your calves with the opportunity to express their real growth potential.
- Allows each calf to be fed according to a pre-set programme to meet individual needs
- Mimics natural feeding patterns with minimal wastage
- Very low routine labour needs
- Consistent feeding – same concentration, same temperature, same portion size
- Records actual daily milk intake per calf
- Flags any calves that have not had their milk allocation – chance to identify first signs of poor health
- Automated weaning curve which encourages early rumen development and improves calf efficiency
- Stepped weaning can be managed with minimal set-backs to encourage the important move onto starter feed
- Automatic daily wash cycles mean the machine and feed lines are rinsed between regular cleans
- Access key data on your smartphone via WiFi connectivity
Already using a computerised machine?
Computerised feeders must be calibrated correctly and maintained regularly to deliver calf rearing benefits. Scrupulous hygiene is also important.
Issues with calibration may mean calves are under or overfed and variations in the concentration of milk being dispensed can have a negative effect on the health and performance of your calves. Consequently, computerised machines must be calibrated to ensure accurate mixing of milk formula and be checked every four weeks, or when a new batch of milk powder is started. Your local Volac Business Manager can show you how to set the correct feed curve for your calves and help you calibrate your machine.
For step-by-step calibration videos for your computerised calf feeder, just pick your machine below.
The application window for the additional CPSGS funding will be open until early September in 2019. For further information about the benefits of computerised calf feeding farmers are advised to speak to their local Volac business manager.
Contact your local Volac Business Manager for further information.
Published on: 09 August 2019
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