New path for male calves

An initiative between Reid Stockfeeds and Elite Dairy Beef provides flexibility and an alternative income stream, as well as addressing animal welfare issues.

An initiative between Reid Stockfeeds and Elite Dairy Beef will improve the welfare of bobby calves and generate new income from the premium beef market, the companies say.

Developed by Spanish company INZAR, the program has been running for decades in the United Kingdom and Europe, and is integral to their dairy farmers’ success in achieving premiums for male dairy steers into European beef markets.

The program was trialled for 18 months by Reid and EDB to test and adapt the rigorous nutrition and rearing program.

“This is a great opportunity for the dairy sector to address a serious consumer concern about the lifetime value of male dairy calves, with a program that helps provide a level of surety around payment when economic conditions are less favourable,” Reid Stockfeeds general manager Nick Reid said.

The program focuses on critical developmental time points that are crucial for the future growth potential of the beef animal.

It also concentrates on ruminant nutrition, whereby specialised rations are formulated to establish synergies between balanced nutritional inputs, the immune system and the calves’ internal environment.

It supports farmers through each stage of the program — rearing, growing and finishing.

Steers produced under the program will be purchased by Greenhams.

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