Buitelaar Suppliers Shortlisted For Dairy Innovator of the Year Award
Dairy farmers Susie and Mark Mottershead are currently milking 190 Holstein Cows plus followers on farm, but rearing beef has now become a greater focus for them.
Last year Susie and Mark made various changes to their current calf rearing systems, including a newly built bespoke calf shed, developing strict management protocols and tracking calf data alongside their vets.
“Before we were put in touch with Buitelaar, the return we were getting on farm was really poor. It’s been nice to now see a return for our hard work and have an outlet for our TB calves. The fact we’re getting a great price, really drives you to produce better beef animals.”
Prior to rearing calves full time, Susie was heavily involved in the key accounts at Kellogg’s and understood the value in tracking data and decided they needed to implement it further on farm.
“Tracking data is always something that has really interested me. Looking at the results, we could see that they weren’t originally where we wanted them to be.”
Working alongside their vets, the family have gathered an abundance of data on birthweights, calf total proteins from colostrum, health incidents, symptoms and treatment.
“The first steps were to improve the quality of colostrum and we’re now feeding a minimum of 4 litres in the first day. We then looked at our housing and built a bespoke calf shed; it’s cleaner, brighter and the ventilation is great - the pens are really suited to the calves.”
Closely monitoring health patterns and understanding the trends, has allowed them to get to grips with tracking disease at any stage of rearing.
“We’ve also made significant changes to hygiene management. We have hot and cold wash and chemical dips for the teat feeders too. Once we had achieved the basics, we were able to look more closely at temperature checking calves more regularly, monitoring them more closely and driving greater feeding. They are thriving.”
Following the overhaul of their system and the vital tracking of data, Susie and Mark are now seeing daily liveweight gains of well over a kilogram a day, as opposed to 0.7kg, which they were previously experiencing.
Susie’s take-home point!
“Doing calves is easier when you have healthier calves – it’s nice to do the calves with the children too and for them to see healthy calves and understand how important it is.”
We are actively looking to work with ambitious and progressive dairy farmers. Find out more about our opportunities with the Longhorn Scheme here.