October 21, 2016

AB Neo on lookout for dairy farmers to use Advanced Weaning Program

AB Neo is looking for more progressive farmers to take the '40 day challenge', using Axcelera-C in a new way to wean their calves at 40 days.

The initiative is to help save time and money while also producing high performing calves pre- and post-weaning. This is the focus of a free advanced calf rearing seminar at Eurotier called "Is feeding calves high levels of milk really the best way of producing lifetime performance? Introducing the Advanced Weaning Program - A new way of delivering accelerated lifetime performance in dairy cows".

The programme will be held on November 16, 12pm, at Hall 19 (Sydney Room).

Axcelera-C is a highly palatable high lactose (40%) pellet for accelerating calves.  On-farm results show it is the link between liquid milk and starter feed, accelerating rumen development by stimulating earlier solid feeding and greater dry matter intake.

Since its launch in 2015, farmers have been using Axcelera-C successfully as part of their existing rearing programmes. In a natural progression from AB Neo's own research and commercial trials, more progressive dairy farmers are now using a new Advanced Weaning Program that equips the calf to wean at 40 days whilst at the same time accelerating pre- and post-weaning performance. The Advanced Weaning Program uses less liquid milk and allows farmers to save time and money whilst experiencing excellent animal performance.

On the background to the programme, Malcolm Beaton, AB Neo's general manager, commented: "In recent years a great deal of academic research has focused on feeding more milk to calves compared to the classic 'limit-feeding' approach designed to stimulate earlier starter feed intakes. Unsurprisingly, because calves struggle to intake and then digest starter feed in the first few weeks, if we feed a calf more milk then it grows faster."

Academic meta-analysis of first lactation performance from these faster growing calves has suggested an increase in milk yield which is attributed to these growth rates. However, very often in the practical application of a Higher Plane of Nutrition programme, farmers can struggle with scour issues and when weaning. Calves can also lose extra weight gained and any associated economic benefit, due to poor rumen development, Beaton said.

Up to now, farmers using Axcelera-C in the conventional way have been able to reduce the growth check at weaning, experience reduced scours and improve vitality by feeding Axcelera-C in conjunction with these higher levels of milk.

However, when using Axcelera-C with more progressive farmers in the UK and US as part of an Advanced Weaning Program, farmers have been able to wean at 40 days by using less liquid milk whilst producing an overall accelerated performance pre- and post-weaning, at a reduced overall cost. Interestingly, since introducing the programme, farmers are seeing a reduction in scours, with many using fewer veterinary medicines and antibiotics, Beaton added. The improved condition, energy levels and vigour in calves is also complemented by a noticeable change in body shape, showing increased body depth and rumen capacity, and setting the animal up for a lifetime of higher performance.

Using the Axcelera-C Advanced Weaning Program, farmers implement their current liquid milk programme along with ad-lib Axcelera-C from day 1-21 and then reduce milk intakes whilst feeding Axcelera C up to 700g per day up to weaning and beyond, mixed with forage or starter feed, and reaching the critical 1.5kg dry matter intakes by day 40.

Axcelera-C isn't offered beyond day 50.

The programme enables farmers to put more calves through their system and reduce the management time and costs associated with mixing and feeding liquid milk.
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