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Fifteen CalfCare Events are taking place throughout January

The annual Animal Health Ireland (AHI) and Teagasc CalfCare events are taking place again this January on farms across the country.

Fifteen CalfCare Events are taking place throughout January

The series of 15 events, titled ‘CalfCare 2023, Back to Basics’, are being run by AHI and Teagasc and supported by Volac Ireland in conjunction with the major dairy co-ops. The first events took place last week with the series continuing over the next three weeks. Today’s event is taking place on the farm of John Cullinane, Shanaway, Ballineen, Co. Cork.

Calf health depends greatly on the quality and management of the calf in early life, particularly in the first six weeks. This series of events helps to prepare farmers for the upcoming calving season and outlines the importance of best practices in calf rearing.

Una Hickey, National Sales Manager, Volac Ireland said; “We are once again delighted to team up with AHI and Teagasc to facilitate the CalfCare events for 2023. The demand for the events is growing year on year, and with topics such as calf health, welfare and nutrition up for discussion we suspect that this year will be no different.”

 “A successful calf rearing season is vital for the success and profitability of farming and the topics covered in this series of CalfCare events will hopefully help farmers as they approach this important time on their farms.  AHI is very pleased to be back running the on-farms events after a break of 3 years and as always, we are very grateful to the host farmers for facilitating us and to Teagasc, the dairy Coops and Volac for their support;” said Grainne Dwyer, Communications Manager, AHI.

George Ramsbottom, Dairy Specialist, Teagasc said; “Teagasc is delighted to partner once again with AHI and the milk processors in the delivery of the upcoming CalfCare events. Our latest research shows that once calves are well reared on milk, or milk replacer, and carefully transitioned to solid feeds prior to weaning, they can be weaned at 15% of mature live weight with no impact on subsequent performance provided that their post weaning management is excellent. At the events, we will discuss best practice in relation to the critical practices of both milk feeding and weaning.”

 Each event will focus on five key areas:

  1. Calf rearing key performance indicators
  2. Knowing the correct calf numbers to rear in an area
  3. Feeding calf milk replacer
  4. Management at weaning
  5. Signs of calf health

The key performance indicators when rearing calves and strategies to reduce mortality and morbidity will be addressed.

Knowing the correct number of calves to rear in a particular shed, or pen, is important to calf performance. These CalfCare events will explore alternative housing for farms that have more calves than the optimum number. Additionally, the latest information will be available on calf comfort and alternative housing options.

With the growing interest in feeding calf milk replacer and a positive milk price, feeding and management of calf milk replacer will be up for discussion. There will be experts on hand to give advice on best practices while feeding milk replacer manually or through an automatic feeder.

Weaning of calves will be addressed and how to minimise the risk of summer scour syndrome, which hinders calf performance on many farms.

Calf health is widely regarded as one of the main contributors to calf performance and subsequent profitability. These CalfCare events will look to help identify signs of good calf health and educate farmers managing pain relief and vaccination programmes.

For the full list of events and for more detail visit www.teagasc.ie/calfcare