Frequently asked questions

 

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Why is the heifer-raising process arguably the most important task on any dairy farm?

If we look at the herd entry liveweight data from LIC, it shows that the majority of New Zealand dairy heifers are not well grown. According to their own research, 73% of New Zealand’s herd replacements enter the herd at 22 months under target liveweight.
Ref: McNaughton & Lopdell, Proceedings of the NZSAP 2012 Vol 72: 120-122

McNaughton & Lopdell say, “Poor calf and heifer management is a potential limiting factor to herd reproductive performance and milk production in New Zealand dairy cattle.” We agree with this statement and believe the Queen of Calves Nutrition programme in conjunction with good heifer management from weaning to herd entry, can address these recognised issues.

Research by Margersion and others has shown that getting the correct type of growth prior to weaning can influence the cellular development of different body tissues in the calf that will impact on its production performance as an adult (Margerison et al., Jnl. Dairy Sci. 2013).   

However, we think that the benefits obtained from the correct dietary influences arising from the use of the Queen of Calves nutrition programme prior to weaning, cannot be compensated for after weaning.

What is Queen of Calves?

There are two Queen of Calves products. Queen of Calves™ STARTER  is part I of  the ‘The Queen of Calves Nutrition Programme™’ and it contains a number of selected beneficial bacterium (probiotic), prebiotic, plant extracts and essential amino acids to boost immune function.

Part II is Queen of Calves FINISHER; it contains several marine plant species selected for specific attributes, and land plants, essential amino acids, beneficial bacterium, prebiotic and vitamins, that when added to milk creates a stronger curd and slows the transit of milk through the intestinal tract.

What’s so special about Queen of Calves?

As far as we are aware, this is the only calf nutrition programme in New Zealand that enables the calf to extract more energy from its total diet, and direct the energy towards lean growth.

How does it work?

There are thought to be a number of beneficial effects from the use of both Queen of Calves products. However, a stronger curd formation that occurs when FINISHER is added to milk has been demonstrated to lead to slower stomach release. Through the process of slower release to the small intestine, it provides an opportunity for greater nutrient absorption and reduces the potential for nutritional scouring.

By optimizing the efficiency of absorption of the milk component of the diet and encouraging early development of the rumen, the Queen of Calves Nutrition Programme enables the calf to extract more energy from the total diet. In doing this, the benefits of rapid, early lean growth have been shown to result in a calf that transitions better to a forage diet and to perform more efficiently as an adult.

 

Is it milk in powder form?

No. Queen of Calves does not contain any milk source, it must be added to colostrum, wholemilk or colostrum/milk blend.

 

What components make up the Queen of Calves Nutrition Programme

The programme includes;
(1) fresh, first-milking colostrum, no older than 12 hours, in the first 24 hours of life
(2) 900 grams of Queen of Calves ‘STARTER’ which is fed twice daily from day 2-18
(3) wholemilk or stored colostrum; restricted to 2 litres twice daily or 4 litres per day
(4) 9 kilograms Queen of Calves ‘FINISHER’ which is fed daily from day 19 -weaning
(5) clean water
(6) unrestricted calf meal or pellets from week 2
(7) roughage in the form of straw or hay
(8) pasture, if available.

 

Do I need to give calf meal to my calves?

Yes, please do. Here’s why. The Queen of Calves nutrition model, when fed at recommended rates, offers the calf a ‘restricted milk’ intake, from about 3 weeks of age onwards. By restricting the milk volume, it encourages greater appetite - the calf searches out for alternative and additional feed sources like calf meal, which encourages development of the rumen.

 

What do I need to know about mixing Queen of Calves with Milk?

Make a concentrated premix with some milk, then add the premix to the rest of the milk, and feed out.

To make a premix for 100 calves for 1 day’s feeding, it will take you about 5 – 10 minutes and you’ll need some sort of mixing equipment to make it easy on yourself. Here’s what you need: (1) REARING TO GO & ABBBA (2) single phase electric power (3) weighscales (4) measuring jug (5) wear dust masks.

 

 

  • transfer 100L of preferably warm milk into the Rearing to Go tank
  • pour in 1 bag of FINISHER
  • turn on the ABBBA and stir for 5 minutes
  • emove the ABBBA, turn on the discharge pump and transfer the premix to warm milk or colostrum.
  • Turn off the discharge pump. The final solution is ready for use as soon as the premix has been dispersed throughout the milk. Agitation during transport to the feeder pen is usually sufficient to achieve dispersion
  • wash down the mixer, discharge the waste appropriately

 

Can I skip the premix phase and go straight to the final mix?

The answer is, yes you can, provided you have the facilities to handle the volumes required. Using an ABBBA and a Rearing to Go mixing unit, this is how to make a final mix for 25 calves in 5-10 minutes. NOTE; for more than 25 calves, we recommend you make a premix. Requirements; (1) REARING TO GO & ABBBA (pictured) (2) single phase electric power (3) weigh scales (4) measuring jug (5) wear dust masks.

• put 100L of preferably warm milk into the Rearing to Go tank
• pour in 5kg FINISHER
• turn on the ABBBA and stir for 5 minutes
• remove the ABBBA , turn on the discharge pump and fill the calfateria or feeding system of choice. Turn off the discharge pump and feed out.
• wash down the mixer, discharge the waste appropriately

 

Is it independently researched?

Yes. Research by Dr Margerison and others at Massey University’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health**, at the Palmerston North Campus, and, Dr Singh and others at Ag Research*, shows the ‘Queen of Calves Nutrition Programme’ can:

• slow the stomach digestion*
• assist the calf to have enhanced rumen development**
• reduce the time to weaning by converting the feed more efficiently**
• improve liveweight gains and enhance the calf’s skeletal development**
• and increase its ability to produce more milk in the first lactation**

Massey University research findings have been presented and published in various Dairy Science Conference Proceedings in USA, UK, Finland, Australia and New Zealand, and have been peer-reviewed by the US Journal of Dairy Science.

 

Does it work on all dairy cattle breeds?

Research shows the programme works across all dairy cattle breeds and regions in New Zealand.

 

You say $230 extra. How do you support that statement?

By comparing the milk production of heifers raised on a conventional milk & calf meal diet with heifers raised on a Queen of Calves programme, trial work at Massey University shows it is possible to quantify the loss of potential income which could be otherwise available. Based on a $7 payout, the research shows a heifer raised on a Queen of Calves programme can produce an additional $230 gross income from increased milk production alone, in its first lactation.

I’m already producing above the New Zealand average – why would I need Queen of Calves?

In the Massey trial, both heifer mobs had been well reared. All of the heifers entered the milking herd at the same stature, weight and condition score. But only the heifers that had been raised as calves on a Queen of Calves programme had a 12% increased milk yield. This finding demonstrates the effect of diet on the developing udder tissue and it supports the anecdotal evidence of many Queen of Calves users. The research shows it’s not just about growing bigger heifers. It’s how they’re grown that matters.

Where can I buy Queen of Calves?

Queen of Calves is available from Anexa, ATS, Eltham Vet, Farmlands and RD1.

end faq

 

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