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Another Successful Open Day at Buitelaar Group’s State-of-the-Art Development Farm

Across the two days, Buitelaar’s Somerset-based Development Farm saw over 300 farmers attend the annual event with some guests travelling from across Europe to join.

As a commercially run calf rearing and trials facility, the Development Farm runs research trials that are designed with both science and on-farm practicality in mind, allowing for research findings to be translated into commercially viable industry developments.

This substantial research platform and the strongly linked industry partnerships enable fantastic opportunity for knowledge transfer during Open Days.

With a focus on R&D and innovation, insightful talks from industry specialists and an experienced and knowledgeable team on-hand for questions and answers, the day was jam packed with education, results sharing and discussion.

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What was involved on the day?

Upon arrival, guests were welcomed with refreshments before setting off on a tour of the Development Farm, stopping to listen to hot-topic talks delivered by industry experts, whom all work across different areas of the cattle supply chain. Speakers included Development Farm Manager, Dominic McKenzie, Norbreck Genetics’ Phil Halhead, Rachel Mallet & Mark Cokayn representing Bimeda Animal Health, Boomer Birch from Cogent Genetics, Jeroen Boerijen & Arjan Meijerink, Denkavit Milk Powder & Calf Specialists and Buitelaar’s High Health Unit Specialist, Mickie Blackett.

The launches of new livestock opportunities and groundbreaking on-farm products created a real buzz amongst guests, whom heard first-hand, how the industry is being driven forwards, with focuses on increased health, antibiotic reductions and improved efficiencies.

Additionally, guests were able to explore the farm at their leisure, noting the different housing types, which vary from economically adapted dairy sheds to new, specifically designed calf rearing housing, such as the Permanent High Health Units, which drew a lot of attention.

Finally, the abundant amount of delicious Buitelaar Longhorn supply chain steak sandwiches and copious amounts of local ice-cream can’t be forgotten. Both went down a real treat with both the guests and team alike!

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Insightful Talks on Housing and Nutrition

High Health Unit Specialist, Mickie Blackett, delved into in-depth discussions on why creating the optimal environment through suitable housing will only reduce your antibiotic usage and drive efficiencies through increased health.

Backed by evidence based Development Farm results, Mickie dropped some serious proven statistics, such as the 27% reduction of antibiotics seen across calves reared in the specialist calf rearing housing, the High Health Units, which has lead to an additional 187g of weight every day.

Bringing learnings from the Netherlands, Arjan Meijerink and Jeroen Boerijen delivered talks on why milk powder is not ‘just milk powder’, it is a science.

They spoke about how and why Buitelaar and Denkavit have worked together to formulate the perfect milk powder for optimal healthy growth in an ever-changing and unpredictable UK environment, highlighting the importance of the right ingredients.

Cutting-Edge Research and Development

The Open Day saw the launch of the highly anticipated ‘ImmunIGY’ test, a ground-breaking lateral flow test that directly measures the amount of immunoglobin (antibodies) the calf has received via its colostrum intake, Mark Cokayne, General Manger & Rachel Mallet, Commercial Technical Vet, UK & Ireland, from Bimeda Animal Health, were on hand to explain how the test works and the reasons behind the test development both for the dairy farmer, the rearer, the supply chain and collectively, the industry.

Watching the test in action, guests saw first-hand the ease of use and user-friendly nature, which combined with the power of this revolutionary test, made this talk particularly intriguing.

The test will act as a tool to build increasingly healthier futures and drive improved livestock productivity, as well as allowing farmers to make informed management decisions going forwards.

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As we reflect on the success of our recent open days, we extend our gratitude to all attendees, speakers, and partners who joined us and look forward to continuing to welcome guests and promoting the good work taking place at our Development Farm.

Would you be interested in an Open Day tour? Contact us to find out more about our next event.