Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dairy in Scotland
Composing at the Lion and Unicorn Inn located in Thornhill near Sterling. A full UK breakfast is in the offing and fire is buring just behind me taking the chill off the breakfast room. 
This blog entry comes from Scotland. At two meetings on Monday, March 11, about 60 dairy farmers discussed with me management of preweaned calves. The primary concerns expressed were about keeping calves healthy (avoiding treatments for scours and pneumonia) and getting them to grow well. Very few folks had problems with calves dying, rather they wanted them to do better.
At the end of our sessions the facilitators asked the farmers to name one or two practices that they might consider changing as result of our conversations. At the first mid-day session the most frequently named practice changes were (1)not leaving the calf with the dam as long (many folks left calves with the dam for 10-12 hours, some for a full day) and (2)not feeding colostrum to calves that had been sitting around warm for a half day or more.
At the evening session the most frequently named practice changes were (1)feeding colostrum to calves sooner (rather than waiting 6-8 hours), (2)chilling colostrum if it was not going to be fed within 30 minutes after it was collected, and (3)cleaning feeding equipment after each use rather than once a day.
Some of the farms had automatic computer milk feeders. I was surprised to learn that uniformly they were feeding a maximum of 6 litres a day with them. This was a topic of considerable discussion since my experience elsewhere is feeding up to 10 and 12 litres daily.
What great fun hearing about calf management practices in Scotland.
That and Haggis for supper last night!

Cheers. Fiona just showed up with breakfast.

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