Wynnstay brings together farmers to share leading-edge knowledge
Shropshire and Mid Wales farmers have been shown the cutting edge of calf-rearing which could safeguard their animals and the future of their herds at a special event organised by Wynnstay.
Four agricultural experts were brought together to address farmers at a day-long workshop held at the Hill Valley Hotel in Whitchurch, as part of the company's Wynngold Calf initiative.
Leonel Leal, a researcher in calf nutrition for Nutreco Research, who tours the world giving tips on best practice, told the group of progressive farmers that the first milk, colostrum, was “liquid gold” for calves and gives them the best possible start in life, which pays off later.
Mr Leal, who originates from a dairy farm in Oporto Portugal, is responsible for new developments in the functional nutrition of calves and for the LifeStart research programme, based in the Netherlands.
He explained: “Calves grow faster with colostrum; they are 6kg heavier at weaning and continue to grow faster afterwards. They are less likely to have respiratory problems and recover much faster than those that have been restricted. Show me your calves and I will tell you who you are as a dairy farmer!
“I hope we can all agree that calf rearing is an investment, not an expenditure.”
Welfare was also the key priority for Joff Roberts of The Calf Igloo Company, based in North Herefordshire, who rears 1,000 calves a year for Livestock Link.
He explained that the novel form of housing allowed calves to choose to roam while remaining on dry bedding, under a roof, with no exposure to moisture. The igloos can house up to 15 calves and offer them fresh air, which is cheap and healthy.
He said: “If you can keep the calf in an optimum environment, you are going to need a lot less food and cost to get that calf growing.”
Tim O’Sullivan, a partner of Shropshire Farm Vets, also addressed the group, listing some of the most serious calf ailments and ways to stay ahead of them striking a herd. He said: “These diseases are typically found where cows are calving in a small area. Hygiene is very important.”
Tim Farrow, who owns and runs TMF Agri Services, urged delegates to use his Fever Tags to help identify and catch diseases early. He said: “We use computerised calf feeders to pick up a drop in appetite and they give us the heads up on any possible issues.”
The event at Whitchurch was one of three venues visited by the experts, with others held in Lancaster and Pembrokeshire.
For more information, please contact Mark Waugh, Be Bold Media, on 01952 898121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Leonel Leal addresses farmers at the Wynnstay Lifestart event.
Notes to Editors:
Wynnstay Group was founded in 1917 by a group of tenant farmers, formally becoming a farming co-operative shortly afterwards. Now a publicly listed company on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) the group has two main divisions, focusing on specialist retail and agricultural supply, and employs a host of experts across many farming specialisms to support its customers and keep the business at the leading edge of development in the sector.
A key aim is to help progressive farmers stay at the cutting edge of farming technology and technique by introducing them to the best research, advice and products available.